Mental Imagery Exercise 6: Simple Volleys
This is the sixth in a series of mental imagery exercises.
Ideally, you would have completed all the previous exercises before attempting this one. Not because you need to know anything from the previous ones but because it is a gradual process. Just the same as you wouldn’t start with trying to run a marathon your first day of training. You would increase the distance slowly. It’s the same here but with a focus on details rather than distance.
Allow me to review.
Firstly, let’s quickly define what Mental Imagery is.
Mental Imagery is the action of visualizing events in your mind. The benefits include greater confidence, ability to deal with adverse situations, better control of emotions and commitment to sticking to your gameplan.
A guided exercise is where somebody, perhaps your coach, sits down with you and talks you through the event and you, the player, imagines it happening.
This is a semi-guided exercise because you will read it first and then do it on your own.
For this exercise I want you to imagine everything from the first person – that is through your own eyes.
It may sound like the science fiction idea of learning in your sleep but it really works.
The objective of this exercise is:
1. To begin to notice the exact movements and feelings of hitting a ball.
This article is part of a series that will ultimately allow you to visualize yourself playing a tough match.
You should do this exercise at least 5 times before moving onto the next in the series.
Let’s get started. Please read the whole exercise slowly and carefully and when you are ready start begin.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit or relax. Somewhere with as few distractions as possible. Somewhere not too hot or cold.
Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths.
Imagine you are standing just in front of the short line, either close to the wall or near the middle of the court.
Feel the ball in one hand and the racket in the other. Imagine how the grip feels. Is it a little sticky? Is it new or old?
Start to hit forehand volleys back to yourself.
Keep the swing short and controlled.
Feel the ball hit the strings and that vibration.
Listen to the sound of the ball hitting the strings and then the wall.
If you are near the middle of the court, start to, move close to the sidewall.
Imagine the ball touching the sidewall but you can still hit it cleanly and tight.
Move away from the wall towards the middle of the court, still hitting forehand volleys.
When you get to the middle, hit the ball across your body so you can hit backhands.
Hit about 5 volleys and then start to move closer to the wall.
Your shoulder is probably getting a little tight now. It has been working hard.
When you get close to the backhand sidewall, hit 5 more volleys and catch the ball.
Imagine yourself stretching your shoulders.
Start again, but this time do 5 more shots on each side.