The Value of Visualization Skills
In a recent Men’s Fitness article Steph Curry of the Warriors was asked, “How do you mentally or emotionally prepare yourself for a game?” His response, “I take about five minutes before every game and I either try to be by the bench or somewhere near the court, where I can visualize what I want to accomplish that night…that way I can almost feel like I’ve been there before, even though I haven’t. It can calm your nerves, and give you a sense of comfort when you’re out there.”
Visualization is a skill that takes time to train. Athletes at any skill level can develop this skill by incorporating five to ten minutes of quality visualization four times a week into their athletic training program. Visualization is the process of seeing yourself performing or practicing a sport related skill in specific situations. Through repeatedly visualizing yourself perform a skill with correct form and effective energy level you can enhance your performance by programming the appropriate responses to specific situations. For example: A basketball player who in close games experiences nervousness before a free throw through visualization practice over time can change the experience of the free throw into an opportunity to step up to the line with confidence in various game situations.
Visualization is a skill that compliments physical practice. Another part of Curry’s routine is to take a lot of practice shots. He practices a wide array of shots and repeats them over and over again. Physical practice and visual imagery compliment each other as they use overlapping neural networks in your brain that create memory consolidation.