Mental Imagery Exercise 6: Short Volleys

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.

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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.

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Mental Imagery Exercise 5: Short Drives

Mental Imagery Exercise 5: Short Drives

This is the fifth 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 continue 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.

——-

As with the last exercise, this exercise actually requires you to do the real activity BEFORE you perform the mental imagery exercise.

Firstly get on court alone. Make sure you have performed a short warm up. I want you to stand about 3 metres from frontwall and about 2 metres from either sideawll.

Now step forward and start to hit soft shots along the wall. You are trying to keep the ball quite close to the sidewall and hit it hard enough so that you don’t have to move.

Try to hit 10 with no mistakes.

Now close your eyes and try to visualize exactly what happened in your mind. I don’t mean the ball has to bounce exactly where it did in real life, just the feeling of the swing and the sounds of the ball hitting your racket and the wall.

Repeat this process at least 5 times. Each time your mental process should be clearer and more detailed. The more you do this, the better.

Now more over to the other side of the court and do the same.

I fully understand this is a bit strange and you might get some funny looks, but be strong. This WILL make your mental imagery exercises better and therefore your improvement faster.

Mental Imagery Exercise 4: Simple Drives

Mental Imagery Exercise 4: Simple Drives

This is the fourth 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.

——-

This exercise actually requires you to do the real activity BEFORE you perform the mental imagery exercise. In the first three exercises we have just spent time in our club or centre surroundings. There has been some interaction with the environment but this exercise is a little different.

Firstly get on court alone. Make sure you have performed a short warm up. I want you to stand near either service box and hit about 10 drives along the wall. Don’t let the ball bounce off the back wall.

Now close your eyes and try to visualize exactly what happened in your mind. I don’t mean the ball has to bounce exactly where it did in real life, just the feeling of the swing and the sounds of the ball hitting your racket and the wall.

Repeat this process at least 5 times. Each time your mental process should be clearer and more detailed. The more you do this, the better.

Now more over to the other side of the court and do the same.

I fully understand this is a bit strange and you might get some funny looks, but be strong. This WILL make your mental imagery exercises better and therefore your improvement faster.

Mental Imagery Exercise 3: Warm Up

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.

Mental Imagery Exercise 2: Be Alone In The Club

Mental Imagery Exercise 2: Be Alone In The Club

As you saw from the title, this is the second mental imagery exercise I have published. In case you missed it, 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. Essentially, if you can’t see yourself doing whatever you want 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 start when you are ready.

———-

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.

Now imagine yourself entering the club or centre where you play squash. Unlike every single other time, this time it is completely empty. Nobody is there except you.

The lights are on but nobody is home.

Walk towards the courts. When you get to the final corridor where the doors to the courts are, look at the walls. See any notice boards or posters on those walls. Any fire extinguishers etc.

Now look down at the carpet or floor. Notice the pattern or colour of it.

Go towards one of the courts and touch the door, look into the spy-hole. See into the court. If it is a glass back, touch the glass and look at the court.

Walk onto court.

Listen to the echo of your steps.

Smell that unique odor of blood, sweat, tears, wood, varnish and plaster.

Move towards the right wall and put your hand flat on the wall.

Walk towards the front wall, keeping you hand on the wall.

Does it have any imperfections? Is the paint peeling? Is the wall perfectly flat and smooth.

When you get to the front wall, turn around. Look at the balcony or seating.

Look at the ceiling. How many lights does it have?

Any balls stuck in the fixtures?

Look at the floor. Are any pieces of marking tape missing. Any discoloured boards?

Take in the whole scene.

Walk towards the door and leave. Don’t look back.

Exit the main door and eave the club or centre.

Slowly open your eyes.

Perform This Mental Imagery Exercise Today

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.

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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.