The Great Muhammad Ali once said, “The man without imagination has no wings, he cannot fly”. For many people, imagination was left in their Grade 3 classroom along with their pet rock and imaginary friend. But what one may not realize is how thoughts (and imagination) can affect actions of the body.
Let’s face it: The difference in speed, agility, strength and stamina between top athletes is minimal. What separates the good from the great is the strength of their minds. What gives an athlete a competitive edge is the use of their psyche, and skills such as mental imagery. Many of the world’s best athletes are reporting using mental imagery to improve their performance and enable them to tap in to their potential. It has been proven that the implementation of mental imagery into training and competition increases performance. In fact, research has shown that imagining a muscle movement in the mind stimulates electrical activity in the muscle without actually moving it. Therefore, when an athlete imagines an aspect of their performance (skills, strategies, etc), they are making gains both mentally and physically, without actually physically exerting themselves!
Mental imagery is like dreaming, except with structure. It is imagining yourself performing exactly the way you want to. It is mentally correcting your weaknesses and using your mind to perfect and control various aspects of your performance. It can be used to arouse or relax the body and mind prior to or during your performance. So USE YOUR MIND. Take control over your performance through the use and power of mental imagery.