As a teenager, I practiced bike trials until dark, often failing to make progress on a specific trick. Exhausted, I’d visualize the trick before bed, and then all through the next day at school…after school I’d try it and nail it first try. Practicing in the minds eye is soooo powerful.
If you’re passionate about something, you’ll naturally dream about it.
Dreams are visions and they happen spontaneously; visualization is more intentional than dreams.
Downhill ski racers can visualize their runs down to the second!
If I can clearly visualize myself riding a challenging line successfully, then I know I can physically pull it off.
In Warrior Yoga, one of the mantra’s I work with is:
“My dreams are the seeds to my reality, if I believe it, I will receive it”.
This isn’t a passive process, everyone has dreams, intentionally doing something about them is the next step, and that starts in your mind; visualize, then test, then repeat. It works! Again, soooo powerful!
Visualization isn’t positive thinking. Visualization is actually a reality and accuracy checking tool. I often visualize challenging lines and end up crashing in my mind, if I can’t manage to ride it clean in my minds eye, then there’s no way I’ll try it! I can’t trick myself in this way, visualization keeps me honest and real!
In the yoga class I posted this week to Real Action Athletes, I asked my students to physically stay still but to move through a sun salutation sequence in their minds eye. This is practice. Can you do that? How much detail can you bring in? What do you learn by doing this?
In the focus practice I posted this week, I wrote down the process for visualizing a specific performance goal, such as a bunny hop or technical climb; and a general experiential goal, such as the emotion and vibe you’d like to bring to your ride. Visualization is such a foundational skill, should be one of the first any athlete learns and practices.