Which one works better in boosting sports performance? Visualization or mindfulness-based training?
Christopher Clarey of The New York Times wrote: “Visualization has long been a part of elite sports. Al Oerter, a four-time Olympic discus champion, and the tennis star Billie Jean King were among those using it in the 1960s.”
Just like meditation, visualization takes practice. What differentiates visualization based training from that of mindfulness is timing. Visualization is usually done before the actual game takes place. But it can also be done in-game. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is mostly applied during the game.
The best thing about these two is that visualization aids mindfulness to be more effective. When an athlete feels and thinks in the present moment, he/she’s able to access that vision despite any distraction. Both of these tools are considered motivations and mental rehearsals.
During our practice, my clients usually visualize themselves winning, doing the extra mile, or protecting their energies. The more they are in the present moment and aware of their thoughts, whatever they envision can be manifested into a reality.
So to answer the questions at the beginning of this article, there’s no doubt that both work effectively. It’s like reading and writing - not contradictory but separate tools that can help one in telling a story.
Do you practice either visualization or mindfulness? How does it help you?