T Nation

Sports Visualization


#1

I was curious if any wrestlers, football players, or any other sports athletes here use visualization as a tool to prepare for meets or games.

I was also wondering if anyone uses Power Drive during these sessions, as it seems it would benefit because of the neurotransmitters firing during visualization.

If you have no clue what I'm talking about, it is a technique in sports psychology that helps prepare you for games by seeing what you're going to do in your mind before your game or meet.


#2

Are you asking if people do actually do it, or if it works for other people? In either case, a lot of people do it, and yes it works. There is plenty of evidence that visualization improves the performance of the visualized task. As far as Power Drive helping, I doubt there is a synergistic effect between the two. Sure, Power Drive could help improve neural facilitation, but the visualization's benefits don't occur do the the pathways, it's more psychological.

However, there is research showing inceased performance in motor tasks due to visualization alone, independent of actual physical training. It sounds like a good master's thesis topic, I might have to use it.


#3

I visualize before any intense lifting meet.


#4

I do visualize...but dont use Power Drive during these sessions. It's obviously much easier to visualize for an Olympic Lifting Meet than it is for a Football game, but I do use it for both sports.

For football, I can't predict every move, but it does help with confidence to see yourself doing everything right.


#5

I read an article on here saying that guys in the NHL use Power Drive. You should check it out.


#6

Yeah, I remember reading about that in the write up for Power Drive. Is there another article about it that I should search for?

Some of the literature I've read says that it helps the neural pathways and that it actually fires the stimuli or whatever even without the muscle moving with enough concentration. IF this was the case, would powerdrive help?

But anyhow, I do use visualization, and I have made some nice improvements playing. I recomend it to anyone who hasn't tried it.

But anyhow, would Power Drive be worth taking if I were to visualize after my workouts, for any poetential benefits and CNS recovery.


#7

I prefer Powerdrive before heavy lifting sessions (like testing PR). I get a strength/power boost.

I use Spike to cram for tests (like right now) and before games. It makes it easier to focus and block out distractions ... besides checking T-Nation when I should be studying.

As far as visualization goes, it works: it's a good precursor to your warm-up routine, it can help you rebound from a mental hiccup on the playing field, and it helps consistency during the game and during the season.


#8

visualization is a very useful tool....it works.

our baseball program used it extensively....and it paid divedends. the whole idea behind it, as it was explained by our coach, sports psychologist and through numerous articles that were fed to us on a daily basis, is that the mind cannot distinguish between an event that is imagined, and one that is actually taking place. sounds hokey, but thats the theory.

the advice i would give if you plan on using it yourself is: take time each day to practice it. sit or lie in silence, eyes closed. see yourself performing in your chosen sport, with successful results. try to make the images in your head as vivid and real as possible....sounds, actions, all the details.

hope that helps a bit.


#9

Before big games I run through me doing perfect moves, dominating basically. Imagining that perfect outcome. You do this often and your brain won't let you perform badly almost. Its as if a good performance is ingrained and when you get the ball you don't even need to think. I think it helps when trying to get 'in the zone'.


#10

I always visualize myself running a PR or winning the meet the days prior to the meet. Sometimes I bst out some pump up music while doing it to add to the adrenaline rush.


#11

There is scientific evidence that the same area of the brain activates whether you imagine yourself doing something or when you remember something that you actually did.

Also if you see yourself performing before you actually perform your actually training your brain to predispose your body to do whatever you want. That goes along the same lines as goal setting, if you see yourself accomplishing a goal your mind will find a way to make your body reach it. If you believe in that you can accomplish just about anything.


#12

I visualized before Track and Field meets and always did very well. I could and can directly link my best performances in Track to the quality of visualization I did before the meet. If I screwed around on the bus ride, I threw poorly. If I was quiet and focused, I did very well.


#13

I have completely forgotten the specifics, but a study on visualization was done useing baseketball free throws as a measure.

Three groups were used in the study. They attempted a specific number of shots to determine a baseline. Then, the 3 gruops were to train differently.

  • control group did no free throws for a month
  • one group practiced for something like 30 mins a day
  • one group VISUALIZED free throws for 30 mins a day

After a month, the 3 groups free thow % was measured again. Naturally, the practice group did imporove the most. However, the visualization group almost improved as much as the practice group. The visualization group improved far above the baseline.


#14

I used to go to sleep everynight before a competition visualizing my matches. It helped me sleep, and I would be much more focused during the match.

I really felt like it would help with nervousness, etc. Whenever I would do it, my thoughts were much more focused, and I was less likely to choke. This is really helpful when facing high level competition, people that you hear of as "3x state champ, all american," etc. If your focused, this doesn't even enter your mind.


#15

I agree that visualization is very powerful. I've heard from some high-level coaches that employ it a lot that they if they are working with an athlete who is in some sort of funk (a good example would be a great basketball player who just can't get his jumpshot to drop), that they will actually have the athlete stop practicing the skill for as long as a week or two and just do very extensive and intense visualization sessions.


#16

i am a powerlifter and when I try to visualize myself doing any of the powerlifts, it always is messed up in someway. Ie with bench it goes up crazy lopsided or my forearms fall back (kind of like a JM press) or it doesnt fully lock out. What is the problem?

Thanks,
lavi


#17

I used to have that problem. When it would happen, I'd just stop and restart and think positive until it worked. It does take practice to get visualization right.

Also, don't just picture it. Try to get all your senses into it. Smell the room, hear the crowd, and feel the knurling in your hands. Get that psyched up feeling.

When you do it right, it almost feels like your muscles are actually firing.

It may sound a little like pop psychology, but I swear by it, especially when I haven't practised my sport in a while.


#18

Just saw this on BBC news .. note the jist of it is, that focus on the muscle activity achieves better results than focus on lifting the weight. This is an interesting idea so I thought I would put in in here and see what people think of that. I don't necessarily think the study was very scientific though.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4861268.stm


'Mind control' over muscle power
Thinking about the way your muscles work could physically boost your strength, research suggests.

A Hull University team asked 30 subjects to do biceps curls and found their muscles worked more when they focused on what the muscles were doing.

But lower rates of muscle activity were recorded when they simply visualised themselves lifting the weight.


#19

"But lower rates of muscle activity were recorded when they simply visualised themselves lifting the weight. "

THEN BUT WAIT...So if your into powerlifting and going for that sweet new 1RM you want..you would be visualizing yourself lifting that weight..getting under the bar, and doing it...so now im really confused.


#20

right... you'd first feel all the senses and see everything in the room, hear the noises. Then you see the bar with the PR lift. See in your eyes getting ready in perfect position, then doing the lift perfectly, then feel in your visualization how great it is to have accomplished the new max. :smiley: