This morning in my class I asked my students to do a little experiment for me. They were instructed to stand on one leg with eyes closed and time how long they could stand upright.
Then, in a second trial, I used a brief imagery script in which I had them imagine themselves standing as a tree would stand, rooted solidly into the ground. A tree may sway in the wind, but it does not topple. It remains firm. With this imagery in mind, I instructed them to do the same activity again.
In the first trial my students averaged 41 seconds. In the second trial they averaged 76 seconds, an almost 100% improvement. What changed? A learning effect? Perhaps a small one, but in truth nothing changed other than their focus on the imagery I provided to them.
Now the image of a tree is used in yoga for the tree pose. But it's interesting that something so simple as providing an appropriate image can elicit significant improvements in performance. So why not consider using sport psychology to your benefit? If you're an athlete or coach, allow me to guide you in ensuring that your mental training is efficient and effective.
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