Friday, March 20, 2015
Sports Psychology: Mental Imagery in Softball
Mental imagery is used by many of the top softball players in the world today. It has become more and more popular over the years, especially at the collegiate level. “Mental imagery involves the athlete imagining themselves in an environment performing a specific activity using all of their senses (sight, hear, feel and smell). The images should have the athlete performing successfully and feeling satisfied with their performance.”1
There are 4 factors that impact the quality of your mental imagery: perspective, control, multiple sense, and speed. Perspective refers to where the “imagery camera” is when you do imagery. The internal perspective involves seeing yourself from inside your body looking out, as if you were actually performing your sport. The external perspective involves seeing yourself from outside your body like on video.Control refers to how well you’re able to imagine what you want to imagine. Multiple sense involves the multi-sensory reproduction of the actual sport experience. You should duplicate the sights, sounds, physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions that you would experience in an actual competition. Speed is the ability to adjust the speed of your imagery will enable you to use imagery to improve different aspects of your sports performance.You also want to imagine yourself in realistic conditions that you can overcome with a realistic performance that is very achievable. And lastly you want to set goals for yourself to reach. “Goals can be technical, tactical, mental, or overall performance. For example, you might focus on some technical change, being more relaxed and focused, or just going for it in your sport.”2
As I stated earlier many coaches and programs are now training their athletes with different sport psychology styles, mental imagery being one. There are many different programs to join that utilize sports psychology, such as Brian Cain, which is the most used sports psychologist around working successfully with many different sports programs.
1Sport Imagery: Athletes' Most Powerful Mental Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201211/sport-imagery-athletes-most-powerful-mental-tool
2Mental Imagery. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.brianmac.co.uk/mental.htm