It’s All In Your Mind…Really!!

IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND….REALLY!!

Wasn’t it fun when you were a kid and you would day dream about making the game winning shot at the buzzer or hitting the walk off home run to win the World Series! Sometimes it would be so real that you would even have the post- game interview. One of the most powerful tools that we possess is our ability to visualize different scenes in our mind.

It is always easier to go somewhere that you have already been than to try to find a new place for the first time.

When we visualize a body movement, there is a region of the brain that is activated, creating pathways through the brain cells as if you were actually doing the movement. Imagery is used for everything from practicing hitting a particular pitch that you are working on in practice or being in a game situation. Ok, so I just daydream about playing and it creates the pathways? Well, not quite, but it’s a start! In order to establish strong pathways the visualization has to be as real as possible. The visualization does not have to be long and can be done at any point in the day when you can relax and clear your mind. Let’s walk through a visualization using this scenario: your team is down by 1 run and it’s the bottom of the last inning, there are 2 outs, a runner on 2nd and 3rd and you are up to bat! You can almost feel yourself getting tense just reading about it!

Let’s walk through a visualization of your “At Bat”:

  1. Relax by sitting in a chair or lying down and take some deep breaths concentrating on the inhale through your nose and the exhale out of your mouth until you feel relaxed.
  2. The most important aspect of visualizing is to incorporate all of your senses- put yourself on the field – feel what the temperature is like(hot, cold, windy)-what does it smell like(dirt, snack bar)-what do you see(are there people watching, teammates)-Do you hear anything(fans cheering, parents yelling, coach, people talking)-how does your body feel(anxious, calm, adrenaline)
  3. Now you are ready to start your at bat
  4. Always visualize yourself being successful (we want to create the pathways that we want!)
  5. Start with your mental routine( deep breath, focal point, cue word)
  6. Put yourself in the game situation and see yourself waiting on your pitch and then hitting a great line drive that drives in an RBI. See yourself running to first, hear the fans cheering, and feel the excitement in your body!

This is just one example, always start with steps 1, 2 & 3 and then move on to whatever you would like to work on, maybe it is hitting an outside pitch to right field, or taking an inside pitch to the left.

Visualization is a key part of any mental routine and is used by all elite athletes throughout the world.

“Seeing is believing”