Mental Visualization

Posted: October 12, 2018

Picture a perfect day for a game or match. Is the sun out? Is the sky clear? Can you smell the freshly cut grass?

Now think of the other team that you will be playing. What do they look like? Are they tall, fast, skilled, or all of the above?

Now, finally, think of what you want to accomplish as a player. What are you going to get done in the game/match? How will you do this?

Visualization has become a very recent phenomenon for modern-day athletes. There are now many coaches and trainers that tell their players to visualize what they would like to accomplish in their athletic competitions. More research and more writing are coming out on this very topic.

The reason that this method has become so much more popular is that athletes often tend to get in their own heads and remember what they did poorly in previous competitions. They continue to relive in their minds what their coach pointed out that was wrong or a major mistake that they had made. This negative mindset causes the athlete to become more likely to repeat that same mistake again as they continually visualize the negative aspects of their play.

Therefore, the average athlete may benefit from mentally visualizing what they would desire to accomplish next time.  They can do this lying down or seated, but they must slow their breathing and close their eyes as they do so. Then, they should imagine how their body will be positioned, where the ball will go, where the opposing team may be placed, and even how they will feel when they do accomplish this task. The more they do this, the more likely they will be to accomplish this very task in their athletic competition.

Maybe try this exercise out with your athletes. Guide them through it and encourage them to do it on their own before athletic competition to reap the benefits in their games/matches.


Taylor Rowden is a Strength Coach at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California. Taylor graduated from the Master's University with a degree in Kiniesiology with an emphasis on sports injury and exercise science. She was also a member of the Women's Soccer Team.