You already know that there’s a huge mental aspect to gymnastics, and all athletics. Visualization, or mental rehearsal, is a very useful tool for gymnasts even when you can get into the gym to practice — and especially when you can’t!
Conceive It, Achieve It.
This isn’t wishing yourself into success; this is mental practice at any time, from any place, and without the risk of injury, and keep yourself in sharp mental shape during your downtime, and actually create pathways in your brain that you’ll use later, when you’re physically performing a skill. Effective visualization can help you learn, gain confidence, and even improve your coordination. Neat, huh?
A key to harnessing the power of visualization is creating a rich experience in your mind — Great athletes can create visual and sensory impressions, and can re-play them over and over again, like a mental movie.
To create that rich and complete mental movie, use the the following prompts to guide your practice:
Where are you? What does it look and smell like where you are? What color is your floor? What corner do you start your first pose in?
What skill or routine are you practicing or performing?
Think of where your hands and feet are and how your muscles work together as you move.
When is your routine being performed? Are you replaying a past practice, or future competition?
What color is leotard you’re wearing? Is your hair tied back in a bun or a ponytail?
Who is watching? Are your teammates, coaches, judges, parents there, or is this practice just for you?
Why are you using visualization?
Are you overcoming a mental block, recovering from an injury, or just want to enhance your training?
How are you going to do the routine or skill? Are you going to sprint down the vault runway or flip backwards on the four-inch-wide balance beam?
How do you want to feel before you start? Think calm and confident.
How do you want to feel after the skill is over? Part of visualizing a flawless performance is the pride and confidence that comes when your hard work pays off.
Try this Simple Gymnastics Visualization
Close your eyes. Breathe in, breathe out. Smell the chalk in the air. See yourself in your favorite leotard. See your teammates around you. Hear the hustle and bustle of the gym. See yourself raise your arms to perform your skill, see yourself move. Feel the equipment under your hands and under your feet. See yourself when your skill is over. Feel how proud you are of yourself for finishing the skills successfully. Before you open your eyes again, store the impression of your visualization in your mind so that you can access it again the next time you want to practice — whether in your mind or on the mat.
Focus on Your Future at the Success Summit
Jill Hicks, consultant advisor for college-bound athletes, and Valorie Kondos Field, retired head coach of the UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team, are taking their Success Summit online, to bring their expertise and inspiration to parents and athletes during this downtime.
Their 3-part online webinar series starts May 5th, 2020 and will address Staying in the Game and Coming Back Strong, Parents Plus Child Equals Same Team, and Q&A time with Jill and Miss Val.
Destira is a proud sponsor of Success Summit. Join Val and Jill in this series to redefine what success means to you as a parent, coach, or athlete.