Mind, Muscles and the Movies.
How many good athletes do you know who have stopped short of realizing their full potential? They were the baseball players who should have consistently hit .300, but never exceeded .275. Or the pitcher who has the potential to throw 95mph with sink but only hits 90mph consistently. Or the sprinters who had the potential of breaking the 100-meter dash under 10 seconds, but was stuck at 10.3. Or the basketball player who never exceed a 70% free throw percentage. May be you can relate, you had room to grow athletically but couldn’t break through. Too often, we see athletes get frustrated with their performance, accept that their performance is second tier and eventually give up.
But how does the mind influence the body so powerfully? It’s simple, go to the movies. Your central nervous system cannot tell the difference between real and imagined images or performances. For example, imagine yourself making solid contact with the ball and driving a line drive to the gap or kicking a field goal through the uprights. When you see yourself doing the athletic task, your nervous system responds as if its really happening. Sharp mental images are produced which all senses are involved, this action ‘preps’ the body for the movement. During this phase, it creates a connection between the mind and body that promotes a smoother and effective pathway for your body to perform the athletic movement. So when you arrive on the field, your body already went through the ‘dress rehearsal’ and has a ‘blueprint’ of every movement that it should make. Your body already knows what to do because it has already done so from the response to your imagery.
Our beliefs activate our subconscious thought processes, which prompts us to act with the truth as we see it. It’s your choice – it can enslave you or serve you. So, what you think, you become. Psychology has taught us that our actions follow our thought and images that we process. For example, if you tell yourself, “I can’t strike out” and then make eye contact with the pitcher – you just programmed your mind to strike out. Inning over…go walk yourself to the bench. Your mind will remember your most dominant thought. Basically, your mind is more efficient when you’re telling it what to do instead of what not to do.
That’s great – but how?
- Old School: Practice makes perfect: Uncomfortable and Awkward. Yes, that’s how it will feel when you first start. Just like starting something new, it’s going to be a struggle at first and that’s normal. It’s the same concept of training your muscles, it’s a skill that develops over time.
- Consistency: 10-15 minutes / day and around the same time of day.
- Stay Positive: Do what works for you. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ template to follow. It’s will be trial and error until you adjust and get comfortable. You will have ups and you will have downs. Remember what works for you, might not work for your teammate.
- Visualize what you want, like really want. One of the most impactful effects of doing visualizations is it’s programming your subconscious brain. Your subconscious brain dictates your path. If you feed your subconscious with negative thoughts or images, it will direct you down that path. If you visualize positive obtainable and realistic images, your subconscious will make mini adjustments along the way to take us the right way.
- Take it up a few notches. Visualizations are important, don’t get me wrong. But what is more important (after you get comfortable doing this) is the feeling it creates not only in your mind but also physically. Doing visualizations without feelings is comparable to fishing without a pole. Feelings create emotions and emotions fuel performance. Visualize powerful emotions and you’ll create those powerful performances.
- It’s in the details. The more details you can add to the visualizations the more realistic that image will be to real life. You want to activate all of your senses – sight, smell, hearing/noise, feeling, and taste. (Yes, taste – you slid into the base and got a mouth full of dirt.)
My recommendation is to take a 3×5 index card and write your personal keys to success on one side and on the other write your performance keys to success (what are you doing when you’re really bringing your A game? And how do you do those things? – stay balanced, drive with the lower half, etc.). By reading those you can change how you think and you can change your performance. So if you don’t like what you are watching…switch the channel.
Once you shed your self defeating beliefs about yourself, everything will begin to click, you’ll be able to achieve your inner excellence and reach your maximum potential. You will reach a peak in every part of your life, an emotional high, a physical high and eventually, everything comes together. It’s almost like being possessed.
So, go to the movies already.
This article was written by Kalee Patterson of Mental Edge+ see more articles similar to this by visiting their website www.mentaledgeplus.co