Mental Imagery in Youth Sports
Maybe you’ve heard about athletes who use mental imagery to boost their performance and confidence.
But what is it really and can it help your kids?
Mental imagery is all about kids using feelings and pictures from memory to create images to practice their skills, and to help them plan, strategize, and rehearse their performance.
And yes, this strategy can really help young athletes.
When high-level athletes talk about “visualization,” they are often referring to just one part of mental imagery. Many people think this is the only kind of mental imagery.
They think you should actually “see” pictures in your mind to use mental imagery. But not all athletes are visual learners who can do this. Some athletes are more comfortable “feeling” in their minds.
To make the most of visualization, kids need to identify which sense works best for them and create pre-performance images that help tell their bodies what they want them to do.
It’s critical to make these simple—and of course, positive. The images help kids trust in their practice and their abilities.
Most athletes use feel, sight, and sound to create these mental images—and research shows that’s the best idea.
Some examples: Tennis players might focus on what a good shot sounds like by rehearsing the sound of the tennis racquet hitting the ball. A weight lifter might feel good balance.
Want to learn more about mental imagery and how it boosts kids’ confidence and performance?
At Kids’ Sports Psychology, exclusive members have access to an e-book, written specifically for young athletes, “Understanding the Importance of Mental Imagery,” which explains what it is, how kids can learn to use it, and how they’ll benefit:
Also at Kids’ Sports Psychology, exclusive members have access to loads of other ebooks, some written for parents, some just for kids. Plus, we’ve got audios, articles, videos, and more!
What do parents say about our resources?
“I use your tips to help a sophomore high school student athlete. Last night, after I gave him some of your email tips – relax, get in the flow of the game, have fun, play by instinct, etc. – He busted loose for a career high 20 points and 15 rebounds!”
Help your kids bust loose and enjoy sports!
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Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!
Do your young athletes:
- Criticize themselves often after making mistakes?
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- Perform like stars in practice but freeze up or play tentatively during games or competitions?
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