Athletes use different types of strategies to influence the outcome of the game. The Same strategy does not work for everyone rather than it is seen that different types of methods are effective for different athletes. One of the effective methods is called ‘mental imagery’.
The key strategy of mental imagery is that the athlete imagining themselves in an environment performing a specific activity using all of their senses. He can try to utilize his sight, hear, feel and smell senses.
Famous golfer Jack Nicklaus used mental imagery for his every shot. Describing that it would be very beneficial, he said ‘I never hit a shot even in practice without having a sharp in focus picture of it in my head. It’s like as true as a colorful movie.
The question is how and when an athlete could be benefited by applying mental imagery? Sports psychologists believe that it is better to work with this strategy every day, every session for a better outcome. It is easy to make good results if you continue this mental practice during training, on the way to training and after training.
Before executing any skill of any exercise, first, you should do it in imagery. Studies have shown that if athletes practice this mental strategy prior to the main competition, then it will affect as an important factor in most of their results. So, we see almost all of the bowlers and batsmen doing shadow practice in cricket.
To describe the usefulness of mental imagery sports psychologists mention the following statement –
- Familiarize the athlete before entering the unknown environment.
- Motivate the athlete by recalling images of their goals.
- The skills in which he has the expertise will help him to be more perfect.
- Get rid of the idea of losing the game.
- Refocus the athletes at the time of distraction.
- Think about success to bring positive feelings to their mind.
A quotation is commonly used in sports psychology. That is, you only achieve what you believe. An athlete will be able to achieve something what he able to believe firmly. Our expectation is that by applying this mental skill an athlete will reach the peak of his success.