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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Competition Tip #6: Visualize

Visualization (or Imagery) is a mental skill used by athletes at all levels to improve the quality of skills, help with athlete's concentration and motivate the athlete.

[Picture adapted from photo by David W. Carmichael (]

Tip #6: Visualization

You can use visualization when you are on the way to the rink, warming up off-ice, or putting on your skates. It helps you prepare mentally for what you will do. To do this, you learn to

visualize your performance

At the skills level, you can think of yourself doing that perfect jump. There are three phases of the jump - take off, air position and landing. Start with the take off - think about how should it feel, what edge are you on, where are your arms, and when is the perfect timing... and "feel" it in your mind, taking off into the jump, the snap into position, keep tight, until... landing with a good check on a flowing edge...

You are probably thinking, that's easier thought than done, but if you can run through the thought process and the feeling in your mind over and over, it will help your body perform it when you are on the ice.

Of course there is also visualization at the program level, where you visualize yourself running through your program. How it feels on each step, where your arms should be, what your body is doing, where you look, etc. Visualizing all these details will make it more natural when you perform the program.

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