World Class Visualisation Can Carry You a Long Way:

It's been scorching hot recently hasn't it? And as the heat wave has continued (thank goodness for the air con in my office!), the other Sunday it was just too hot to even go outside anywhere. It really was that hot.

And so I took the opportunity to do some ironing (that's how I roll!), which probably made no sense because whilst trying to stay inside and keep cool I was holding a very hot thing next to me! Anyway, whilst doing some pretty poor quality ironing, I stumbled across a TV programme about the long jumper Mike Powell and his record breaking jump at the 1991 World Championships. At the time Carl Lewis was the king of athletics and it was fascinating to hear about the intense level of competition between them.

Whilst talking about his world record jump, he described a neat little visualisation process that he used to help him stay focussed and perform to the best of his ability. I'll cover that in a minute.

Because even with the hot temperatures I've managed to keep going to bootcamps (although I've mainly been a hot sweaty mess trying to keep the sweat from getting in my eyes and blinding me).  

world classs visualisation

And despite the heat, it was also my youngest daughter's school sports day yesterday. Bless her she did me proud in the egg and spoon race and sack race by trying her very best in both. And I took park in my first school sports race since about 1984 when that had the 'dad's sprint'. Now, when I was at school I was overweight and about as uninterested in sport as it was possible to be so sports day was a non-event (although I seem to recall I did my best in the obstacle race). So you can imagine my delight at winning the sprint. Never mind the world cup and England's fifty-odd years of 'hurt' since 1966, I ended my 35 years of 'hurt' since primary school sports day!!

Now I didn't need to call upon any great visualisation or mental rehearsal processes to just run 50 metres against a few other blokes, but Powell certainly did benefit at those world championships.

Charging Like A Bull, Running Like a Cheetah

At the 1991 Athletics World Championships, Powell and Lewis came head to head in the long jump. Lewis had already won the 100m at the championship, setting a new world record, and came into the long jump with a 65 meet, ten year winning streak. 

Lewis was in first place as Powell came into his last jump. In the TV programme Powell described how he told himself he didn't have to force it and so he went through his visualisations. He would imagine the whole jump in his mind, assigning different animals to the different elements of the run and jump.

He would imagine starting his run up powerfully charging like a bull, then galloping like a horse, then fast like a cheetah into his take off. It clearly worked because in that jump he not only took first place but set a new world record of 8.95m. Pretty incredible stuff eh?   I like that little visualisation process a lot.

Now not all of us aspire to be world record long jumpers yet it never ceases to amaze me how mindset and psychology is such a key part of sport, but is often neglected in other aspects of life.

That aside, I think we can all learn something from this champion approach. Whether you want to run like a cheetah or jump like a kangaroo or lift like a gorilla, you could easily adapt this to suit your goals.

Or maybe you could imagine that you are operating like a perfectly working machine in your training or at work. Or perhaps instead of animals you can think of someone you admire and aspire to be like and so you can learn from them for your own benefit by adopting their sense of inner belief in themselves and their own capability. With a little imagination you can soon develop your own visualisation for focus and performance and then use this for your benefit at work, at home or when doing the things you enjoy. Such a focus and mindset can only help you perform better.

Now, I'm off to work out how I can apply this to the routines at bootcamp. Maybe I'll soon be hanging from bars like a monkey, lifting weights like King Kong and jumping onto tyres like a grasshopper!

To your success

Dan Regan 

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket