Getting into Your Sports Zone Using Mental Visualizations

Woman athlete in pensive mood

Do you consider yourself to be athletic, or someone who is trying to become more proficient in sports?

Maybe you play Football or Soccer or Gymnastics at college level, and want to progress to professional level. Or competitive sports are just a weekend thing for you but you’ve a desire to be the best you can be even if you’ll never get paid for it!

Maybe you have a kid in high school who has talent and as a parent or coach you’re trying to figure out how best to help them beyond paying for them to be on a great team.

Usually to become better at sports, you have to ‘get your head in the game’ which means you have to get into your ‘sports zone.’

Professional athletes are able to get into this ‘zone’ of concentration, as this is what creates their ability to transcend to the next level and become elite professionals. Have you ever wondered how they’re able to get to this level?

Was it all luck, and good breaks that got them there, and kept them there?

Professional and national teams have long understood the power of the human mind to boost sports performance. Sports psychology is a genre all its own now, and to give professional players, and elite amateurs aspiring to become professional, the edge, millions of dollars are spent each year to provide the psychological support needed to become the best.

Let’s look at how this became so important…

 

THE INTRODUCTION OF SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY:

Train your brain cartoon posterProfessional athletes are ‘masters of their craft’ in they understand sacrifices and long hours of practice are needed if they ever want to achieve their greatest pinnacles for success.

You may have heard of the 10,000-hour rule to become an expert and made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”, well this is also true of athletes and some would say 10,000 is a minimum for them.

If you think of the world’s best such as Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, or Wayne Gretzky, or Cristiano Ronaldo, these all went well beyond the 10,000-hours with their talent. Talent alone isn’t enough to become elite. Practice and preparation is, as they say, the pieces that separate the “wheat from the chaff.”

Furthermore, there are two other components that must be added to the equation – passion and ‘getting into the zone’.

These are all qualities the athlete creates for themselves as they view sports as an extension of who they are, a part of what they were created to do with their lives.

If you were to ask any pro athlete they’d most likely tell you there’s a competitiveness in their blood that means everything to them, and nothing brings them greater satisfaction than winning! Losing or failure is not an option to them going into a game or event.

The competitiveness for some athletes comes from fear of failure or losing.

Herb Elliot, the famous 1500-meter track and field star from Australia, was never beaten at his event – that’s right, he never lost a 1500-meter race during his illustrious career.

The fear of losing gave Herb Elliot his body chemicals for “getting in the zone” for his races.

But what are other mindsets for getting in the zone?

 

GETTING INTO THE ZONE BY MENTAL VISUALIZATION:

Woman winning raceMost athletes, both professionals and amateurs achieve their successes for ‘getting into their zones’ by using visualization techniques, whether intentional or unintentional.

They achieve what they’re able to accomplish through guided imagery or visualization. They picture themselves in their sport participating in their various activities prior to actually doing it for real. For individual sports they picture themselves as winning! Crossing the line first or getting match point!

In their mind’s eye, they rehearse and see themselves as being successful at their various events. This mental rehearsal for athletes is so real they honestly believe they’re on the playing field or court, or winning a race on the track.

There has been research conducted on ‘getting into the zone’ and mentally practicing.

Did you know athletes who practiced in their minds only, have been just as successful in real game situations at their sports as those who physically practiced? This is a testament that demonstrates the unconscious mind cannot discern between what is a real event versus a perceived event!

There was a study done at University of Chicago where a Basketball group was split into three groups, with one of the groups rehearsing free throws mentally with no practice, and their success at free throws was almost as identical as those who just practiced – 23% to 24%, and vastly superior to players who didn’t practice or mentally rehearse.

I’ve included links in the resource section below to this study, plus a link to an article I wrote about Mental Rehearsals as part of my confidence and self-esteem series.

So, what does all this mental rehearsal and visualization mean for the athlete, professional or amateur?

It means you can and should practice getting ‘into the zone’ by mental visualization. If you struggle to get into the right mindset then there are techniques to help stay focused during competition. These include: pick out and focus on the right performance cues to help you stay in moment, avoid taking distractions into competition, keep it simple and avoid over thinking or analyzing what’s happening. You’ll find the source of these and other tips in an article I’ve linked to in the resource section below.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish mental visualization is through hypnosis. You can improve your overall concentration and sense of confidence in your sport by using hypnosis to tap into your unconscious mind and make a situation “real to your mind” even though it isn’t.

A hypnotherapist who specializes in sports performance can teach you excellent concentration skills through the use of visualization and positive expectation.

Once you’re taught how to focus – improving you tunnel vision – you’ll be able to mentally rehearse before a game or event, or even during the event, improving your overall awareness for increased success.

 

CONCLUSIONS:

Professional athletes and coaches now realize natural talent and practice only gets you so far. At the elite level mindset plays a key role in determining success. This isn’t just the domain of the elite athlete though and is true of anybody who wants to reach their best in a sport.

Mindset is all about preparation and focus and “getting into the sports zone.” Mental visualization and rehearsal is now common among teams and coaches at the professional and national level. Sports psychologists are in the locker room and an important team member.

Hypnotists with experience of working with individuals who want to take their sports performance to the next level, can help the high-school and college athletes who want to commit to being the best they can be.

If you want to sample how hypnosis could help you get into the ultimate sport performance state then check out this self-hypnosis session for getting into your sports zone here >>>

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Mental Rehearsal & Visualization: The Secret to Improving Your Game Without Touching a Basketball! >>>
Using Mental Rehearsals to Get the Results You Desire – Erika Slater >>>
Mindsets to Help Athletes Perform in the Zone >>>

 
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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