Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We wish you all the luck of the Irish today, but hope you really won’t need it! Why?! Here at Gym Gab, we hope to provide some tools that will leave you feeling more empowered and less dependent on luck!
At our gym every week, we find time to dedicate ourselves to “Brain Conditioning” during practice. This is a time where our gymnasts tap into their power of thought; a sometimes forgotten, yet very important skill we all have and can use in the gym, at home, before competitions, and just about anywhere else. Gymnasts/Athletes aren’t the only ones who can benefit from Brain Conditioning, so learning the basics of it can be useful to everyone!
One of the most important aspects of “Brain Conditioning” is visualization; aka seeing what you want to happen in your mind. Read |HERE| for an interesting (and popular) study of athletes and the correlation between visualization and performance.
Here are GymGab’s 5 Lucky Visualization Tips we’ve come up with for you today!
1. Visualize in a place with minimal distractions. Our gymnasts frequently sit on the beam to visualize beam routines, or stand on the vault runway while visualizing their vault skills. Though these may not seem the most obvious place to feel calm and collected (as we’d suggest), what matters most is finding a comfortable place that encourages clear, precise, and positive images of goals and skills in mind. Some athletes find playing inspiring or relaxing music while they visualize another way to stave off outside distractions.
2. Details are important! All of the five senses should be tapped into. For example, while thinking of a bar routine at a competition, envision you wearing your competition leotard, feel the rhythm of the bar swing, smell the hairspray wafting through the air as it flings about, hear the creaking of the bar cables, and taste the chalk in the air. Noticing even the smallest details will solidify the experience into the subconscious to help muscles replay them later on.
3. Visualize an exceptional performance. If fears or flaws make their way into the mental picture refocus and start over. Condition the mind to visualize only the things that are positive and productive. The beauty of “Brain Conditioning” exercises is that it is a time when the mind is in complete control of the body and what it does. Use that power to build upon skills rather than break them down. Hands won’t rip with repetition of the mind.
4. Visualize in the First Person. This is the most effective form of visualization. Sometimes we refer to it as “from the mind’s eye.” You should see the world as you do everyone day. . . peering out of your body. Explaining this concept can be hard, but we use words like, “See your arms and legs, but not your face,” “Notice the beam beneath your feet,” “Feel your fingers pressing back and high during your salute,” etc. This allows the experience to be personal rather than observed.
5. Third Person Visualization can also be useful. This is where the image of skills/routines are projected of one’s self and watched rather than experienced. The advantage of observing one’s self is being able to analyze and refine skills that consciously need improvement. Also, seeing one’s self is another way to realize how well you are actually doing. Be impressed with yourself!
1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, Peter Vidmar share’s his thoughts on visualization (YOUTUBE)
Everyone can use a little luck now and then, but hopefully with these tips for having successful visualization, you’ll rely less on luck and more on your mind and body–a dynamic duo for sure!