Article in a tweet: Focus your visualization efforts on things that have gone right for you in the past. They can be big wins or small victories. Remember and hold onto that winning feeling.
Visualization hack CrossFitters
For those of you who do not know, I am a CrossFit level one trainer, and a (soon to be) graduate psychology student. That being said, I have a unique approach to my training philosophy.
The mind a muscle and needs to be trained as such. A lot of people fail to realize this and they put all of their efforts into training their bodies. For the naturally gifted and supernaturally athletic this might work out, for some time at least.
But for the rest of us, we need to focus on building our mental strength just as much as building our physical strength.
One way we can build this strength is through the use of visualization. But how can we use visualization for unknown events? This is a question I get asked a lot, especially in the midst of the open.
Luckily, visualization methods can work regardless of the event being known or unknown beforehand.
In the military we all to often used the phrase, “you never rise to the occasion, you sink to your level of training“. To me, what that means is how you prepare for any given circumstance is also how you react to any given circumstance.
So how do we visualization for the unknown?
Focus on past wins
Just as with regular visualization, start with focusing on past wins. Remember, in detail the feeling you had after that event. Better yet, it does not even have to be a complete win, maybe you hit a personal best, or won a specific event, or wave. Maybe you inched out someone well ahead of your skill level.
In my first few years of racing BMX, I was pretty good when stacked up to others with a similar age and skill level. However, there was this one time when I remember beating a pro rider out of the start gate and into the first turn.
This to me was a huge win. Of course, I did not maintain my position and was quickly overtaken by the second turn, but to beat a pro at getting the holeshot. That felt damn good and that feeling was something I never have forgotten. Maybe he wasn’t trying for the holeshot, maybe his attention was on a section later on in the race. I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care. I felt good about it and even though I did not win the (in fact, I don’t even remember the rest of the race), my confidence in my ability grew immensely.
Similarly, when I first started practicing Jiu-Jitsu my goal was often to just make it through a rolling session without getting submitted. Did it always happen? Hell no. I have tapped a lot more than I haven’t, but the few times I was able to maintain and make it from bell to bell left me feeling as if I won.