For all you athletes (or aspiring exercisers like me, at this point), your mental training can be as important to your success as your physical training!
I have written about my experience with visualizing myself winning races in high school. I recently heard Usain Bolt, the 100m world record holder, also commenting on how he uses similar techniques to gain a mental advantage in his running.
Check out this information on the topic that I received recently from Silva Life System:
Using the Mind in Sports
Dr. Charles Garfield, former NASA researcher and current president of The Performance-Science Institute in Berkeley, California, talks about a startling experiment conducted by Soviet sports scientists.
The study examined the effect of mental training, including visualization, on four groups of world-class athletes just prior to the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The four groups of elite athletes were divided as follows:
Group 1: did 100% physical training.
Group 2: did 75% physical training, 25% mental training.
Group 3: did 50% physical training, 50% mental training.
Group 4: did 25% physical training, 75% mental training.
What the researchers found was that group 4 – the group with the most mental training – had shown significantly greater improvement than group 3.
Likewise, group 3 showed more improvement than group 2, and group 2 showed more improvement than group 1.
The results were astonishing. Who would expect that athletes training mentally would be able to advance further than their counterparts who were training physically?
Garfield said, “During mental rehearsal, athletes create mental images of the exact movements they want to emulate in their sport. Use of this skill substantially increases the effectiveness of goal-setting, which up until then had been little more than a dull listing procedure.”
– See more at: http://www.silvalifesystem.com/online/lessons/1-intro