Mental Rehearsal for Peak Performance
You may have heard that many elite golfers use visualisation as part of their performance routine – indeed Jack Nicklaus was a real master with his visualisation routine.
Now, you may ask, what does this mean and can I take advantage of it?
So what does it mean? Well engaging in constructive imagination may be a better way of describing it. By imagining a positive result, we are actually priming our unconscious mind to facilitate a positive result in our physical reality. And by imagination, we are talking about all our senses including sight, sound, feelings and even taste and smell.
Using imagination to rehearse physical skills causes electromyographical (EMG) activity in the relevant muscle groups, similar to what would occur during actual physical performance. Although research has shown that this activity does not match precisely the pattern of EMG recorded during physical performance, neural impulses that are passed from the brain to the muscular system during imagery can be retained in memory almost as if the actual physical performance had occurred.
So that is the technical side of it! Why not give it a go.
Find a quiet space and first of all just practise using your senses. Close your eyes and take 3 deep abdominal breaths breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 2 and breathing out for 8. Then…
…Imagine the sound of your favourite song…
…Imagine the feeling of the texture of your clothing…
…Visualise a scene from your favourite holiday…
…Imagine the taste of your favourite meal…
…Imagine the smell of your favourite garden flowers.
Now take 3 more deep breaths as before and take yourself to the place where you play your sport and engage with a scene when you are playing at the top of your ability.
First of all, imagine seeing yourself on a TV screen. See yourself performing at the top of your ability. This is called “disassociated” imagery
Then, in your imagination, step into the TV screen and become the performer, engaging with all your senses and bring them fully to life, fully experiencing your peak performance as it happens. You are now fully “associated” with your performance.
Take a pause and repeat a few times, each time making your experience brighter, louder, stronger as your feeling of success grows within you.
Finally, take a snapshot of the scene at your peak experience – this will be your winning image.
You are now experiencing true mental rehearsal and you can return to these positive feelings during play by recalling your winning image so as to keep you focused and confident. Go for it and enjoy!!
These techniques can be developed further in hypnosis, initially with MindCoach4Golf and then using Self Hypnosis as part of your competition preparation routine.