Mental Imagery Exercise 3: Warm Up
This is the third mental imagery exercise I have published.
Ideally, you would have completed the previous exercises. Not because you need to know anything from them but because it is a gradual process. Just the same as you wouldn’t start by trying to run a marathon on 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 objectives of this exercise are:
1. To encourage you to warm up properly.
2. To begin the process of becoming more aware of your physical movements and contact with the physical world.
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.
Image you are looking through your own eyes, not watching yourself do everything.
Now imagine yourself entering the club or centre where you play squash.
You are already changed into your playing kit and you go towards the courts.
Find an area where you can warm up. I am going to assume that you can’t use a court. If you can, use it, if not use whatever area you can.
Put your bag down and remove any excess clothing; coats, gloves etc.
Take a ball from your bag and hold it in the hand you do not use to hold the racket.
Start to jog on the spot. Begin to feel your feet touching the floor, your knees rising almost to your hips. Do this for a minute or so. Feel the ball in your hand.
Now stand with your back against a wall and take a small step forward. Bend your knees a little and twist your upper body to the left so that you left hand touches the wall behind you. Now turn to the right so that your right hand touches the wall behind you. Do this 24 times. Each time feeling your body twist and the hands touching the wall. Feel the ball in your hand.
Stand in the middle of the area. Feet hip width apart. Make a small jump and put you right leg forward and your left leg back. Almost like you were stretching for a ball. Not too much of a stretch though. Jump and switch legs; left leg forward and right leg back. Do this 12 times. Feel your feet land on the ground and the ball in your hand.
Pick up your racket. Hold it by the throat and stand facing a wall with your arm at right angles to the floor and wall. Spin your racket to the left and right. The racket should be parallel to the wall and when you are spinning it, it should not touch the wall. Do 50 spins – 25 either side. Feel the muscles in your forearm do all the work. Keep your wrist firm. Feel the ball in your other hand.
Stand in the middle of the area and do a little ghosting. If you have enough space and height, swing properly. Move from side to side, forwards and backwards.
When you finish all these exercises, stop and try to notice the sweat on your forehead. If you are not sweating, do them again. Feel it running down the side of your head.
You are now ready to get on court and stat hitting the ball.
Close your eyes in your imagination and open your real eyes.