The Imagery Machine

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First Question: Have you been to a weight room? Second question: How many of you have gone to a weight room and did not have a clue what some of the machines were for or how to use them? I would bet most readers said yes to both.

Now, picture your mental weight room. What is in it? Relaxation, concentration, mental routines, imagery, etc. It may be safe to say that most of us have heard or were briefly introduced to the ‘machines’ in our mental weight room, but the real question is do we know what they are for or how to use them productively.

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Today, I want to offer my advice on using the Imagery ‘machine’ in the mental weight room.

Guidelines:

1. Different kinds of imagery:

a. Internal
b. External
c. Mastery
d. Task-oriented

2. Imagery experience may be:

a. With a sport psychologist/consultant
b. Making your own imagery script and playing it back on tape
c. Exchanging imagery scripts with a friend

Successful imagery includes:
a. Personal
b. Detailed
c. Establishing the right mood for the script
d. Do it more than once

Let’s focus on 1c & 2b. Mastery rehearsal imagery is important when trying to increase performance in any content. It will be as if you are seeing yourself ‘dominating’ your event along with learning new directions for success within performance.

Writing your imagery script:

  • Use personal experiences to increase realistic scenarios
  • Describe pre-game, game, & post-game
  • Title your script with a relatable cue word
  • Make it real (i.e., weather, location, other people)
  • Use 5 senses
  • Use the correct tone within your script (i.e., the buzzer running down = tone is anxious and nervous)
  • Keep script concise and to the point

Check back next time to discuss more about Your Mental Weight Room.

Lyndsey Seewald is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sport & Performance Psychology Masters Program. Now she is a coach for a private collegiate basketball team, where she works with athletes to increase their mental and physical resilience during injury recovery and helps them develop techniques to overcome obstacles both on the court and in life.