Do you use imagery as part of your preparation for performance? Do you use imagery in that said performance?

I've just written my MSc dissertation on the use of imagery amongst triathletes and its impact on performance. I chose this topic because I, as a triathlete, regularly use imagery for a number of different reasons. So, what can we use imagery for?

Well...you can use imagery for a range of reasons: you can use imagery to help you learn a new skill, so I have been using imagery to help me see myself running with the new technique I have learned to help me prevent injury and improve my running; you can use imagery to practice strategies you want to use in your race/game, for instance seeing yourself in the position you want to be for a triathlon mass swim start and then perfecting your pacing strategy across the race. They are both cognitive uses of imagery but there are also perhaps the more well known motivational uses of imagery.

You can use imagery to help you focus on specific goals, be that process goals, performance goals, or outcome goals. What are these you say? Well, a process goal is something you focus on within a performance on a specific basis, be that a specific technique - you then can judge whether you have achieved that goal. A performance goal is again something within your performance, for instance, having a set time in mind for your intervals - did you achieve these times? Lastly, there is the outcome goal, did you achieve your race time you hoped for, did you podium?

You can also use imagery to manage your emotions...some will get anxious prior to performance that can negatively impact upon performance so it needs to be managed, where as others need to psych themselves up. Imagery can help you visualise yourself in the right emotional state to achieve your best performance. 

The final use of imagery is all about seeing yourself being confident, being mentally tough, finishing a hard race strongly. This helps with motivation, to see yourself being as you want to be during the race. Crossing that finishing line and fist pumping when you see you have achieved your outcome goal ;)

Some people find using imagery easier than others but everyone can use imagery and the more you use it the better you can become at using it. If you think imagery could be helpful for you as race preparation and race implementation then get in touch, we can create a specific imagery script just for you to serve the goal you have. 

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