Mental Rehearsal And Success
The power of positive thinking is not a new concept and has been encouraged and implemented for many decades by high achievers in athletics, business, and just life in general. I am no self help guru, but it basically breaks down to the simple concept of, if you believe you can do something, your chances of achieving it are increased.
"IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING, YOUR CHANCES OF ACHIEVING IT ARE INCREASED."
Success is never guaranteed but having a positive expectation instead a negative one just logically has a better chance. Put that together with consistent, productive work and you are giving yourself the greatest opportunity to succeed. But how do you put this into practice? Do you meditate for an hour a day and dream of sunshine and rainbows made out of candy? I suppose you can do that, but it is unlikely to be specific to any goal you have set for yourself. I believe practice needs to be specific to your end goal. If you have a specific sport you are trying to excel in or even just improve, it makes sense that practicing that sport as frequently as possible will lead to improvement. The same goes for mental rehearsal. It’s just practicing in your mind.
I actually started doing this a few years ago kind of by accident. I had heard of the power of positive thinking just like the rest of the world, but I did not put a lot of value in it. I viewed it as more a dreamers mentality that had little connection to actual reality. What I ended up finding useful was specific positive thinking. For example, preparing for a powerlifting competition in 2014 I badly pulled my hamstring 6 weeks prior, playing hockey. If you know anything about powerlifting, you know the hamstrings are pretty important when performing the squat and the deadlift. I was not able to train those 2 lifts specifically more than a handful of times leading up to the meet. I did train around the injury so it was not like I was sitting around daydreaming about positive outcomes, I still did everything I could do physically to help out.
The mental aspect of my training was very specific though. Several times throughout the day I would find myself thinking about the upcoming events and often the pain and limitation of my injury was at the forefront of my mind. I was focusing on a negative outcome without even trying. I knew this was not going to help the situation, so I would force myself, anytime I saw a missed lift in my mind, to shut that down and replace it with thoughts of a perfect, pain free performance. This was not easy to do, but over time it became effortless. I probably performed thousands of perfect attempts in my head even though I actually only got in maybe a dozen in reality.
When all was said and done, I ended up having my best competition squat, bench, deadlift and total which qualified me for the World Championships in South Africa. I am not saying the mental rehearsal was entirely responsible for this positive outcome. Other factors like previous training and competition experience, rest and rehab for the hamstring, and just shear adrenaline are huge factors as well, but I cannot dismiss the perceived benefit of something that was relatively easy and took no toll physically. This is my unique situation, but I think it can be applied to anyone. Being specific in your thoughts and channelling it as much toward success as you can is the key. Just like anything the more you do it, the better you get at it.
Hope this helps you out. I will talk to you again soon.