As any athlete will tell you, performance is as much a mental game as a physical one. Golfers know that the tiniest uncertainty in your swing can send the ball careening off into the lake. And in more direct sports, when you’re facing down another player, a stronger mind can overcome a gap in talent and training.
That’s why sports coaches and other trainers love visualisation. This powerful tool primes the athlete for success.
It works by imagining yourself triumph in the future. The same part of your brain imagines as remembers, so some part of you thinks it’s “remembering” a future victory.
Your unconscious assumes that your success is inevitable, a foregone conclusion, and so does everything it can to align reality to this belief.
In other words, it makes you play good. Really good. It draws on every lesson you’ve learned, every snippet you’ve overheard and everything you’ve experienced to create a world in which you win.
That’s the theory, anyway.
And it does work. It works incredibly well. Athletes and sports coaches are pragmatic people. They care about results. If something doesn’t work, then it’s detracting from practice or recovery time.
So they know it works well enough to bother with.
But it’s not perfect. In fact, there are other options that work a lot better.
Like, for example, self-hypnosis.
The thing with visualising is that not everyone can do it. Actually, everyone can, but there are people who think they can’t. If I asked you to visualise an apple, most of you will see an image on an apple in your mind. Some of you won’t see anything. Your mind generates the image but it keeps it from you.
Most people don’t notice something this subtle. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in their 50s or older read that, slapped their forehead and muttered something about how that explains a lot.
Not being able to see images in your mind doesn’t hold you back. You could still decorate an apartment in your imagination.
It would be harder, though.
A hypnotic trance can do two things:
One, it can teach you to see the images in your mind.
Two, it creates mental landscapes that use all of your senses. Even if you ‘can’t’ see things in your head, that’s okay. You don’t need to.
When you imagine your future success with all of your senses, it’s that much more powerful. Combine it with a trance state and your brain truly learns to succeed.
Visualising helps you play at your best. With these self-hypnotic states, you can make your best even better.
In these trance-induced landscapes, you can train. You can practice your techniques without the limitations of time. You don’t need equipment and you can do it anywhere.
And you can train with anyone. You can invite the legends of your field – living or dead – into this mental training. They can teach you everything you need to hear.
Some part of you will believe it’s as real as the room you’re in.
Neither this enhanced visualisation nor this mental training replace the real thing. They complement it perfectly. It brings your mental game in line with your physical one.
Will it make you unbeatable? Probably not. But practice this right and your skills will skyrocket.
Read how to build a gym in your mind here: