Perform This Mental Imagery Exercise Today
A few days in 2016, I tweeted and posted on Facebook for people to make 2016 the year they started mental imagery.
Well, it’s time for your first semi-guided exercise.
Firstly, let’s quickly define it.
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. Essentially, if you can’t see yourself doing in your mind where you have total control how can you do it in real life?
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.
Let’s get started. Please read the whole exercise slowly and carefully and when you are ready start.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit or relax. Somewhere with as few distractions as possible. Somewhere not to hot or cold.
Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths.
Imagine yourself just as your journey to your squash club or sports centre ends. Maybe it is parking the car, maybe getting off the bus or train.
See the club in the distance as your walk towards it.
Hear the usual sounds around, maybe even feel a breeze of your face.
You can imagine the weather to be typical for the time of year you are doing this exercise.
Imagine each solid step towards the club. Feel the grip of your squash bag in your hand or the straps on your shoulder.
Feel the expression on your face. Make it serious.
This is the preparation for a match. Don’t be too light hearted. Let people see from your face that you mean business on court.
Walk into the club and greet the people you meet. Say “Hello” or whatever is your usual way of greeting them but don’t be too friendly. Smile if you want to but don’t laugh and joke with them.
Stop for a moment and look around the club.
Imagine as much detail as you can.
Walk towards the viewing court gallery.
Go through any doors and feel yourself opening them.
hear the sounds of the ball hitting the ball and the smell.
Greet any people on the balcony but don’t be too friendly.
Let people know you are serious about your match today. Let them feel that seriousness from your demeanor.
Now go towards the changing rooms.
Enter and hear the unique noise that all changing rooms have when busy; water from the showers, people talking etc.
Get changed quickly and move to your warm up area.
Warm up properly.
Move to behind the court you are going to play on.
Say “Hello” to your opponent, but keep that serious expression.
Watch the previous players leave your court and gesture to your opponent to enter first.
Walk behind him but pause just before you enter the court and touch the wall.
With this touch leave everything non-related to THIS match behind – it will be there when you finish.
Continue walking into the court and fade to black.
Slowly open your eyes, the exercise is over.
Well Done, you have just completed an mental imagery exercise – perhaps your first.
Just like a physical workout, you won’t be mentally fitter from just one exercise.
That comes from regular practice.
Do this as often as you can, each time seeing more and more details.
After at least 10 times you will be ready for the next exercise.