THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION…from my book, “Championship Racquetball”
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Part II (How do you visualize?)
In the last article I covered Part I of “The Power of Visualization” and defined what visualization was and how it worked. Today I am going to discuss Part II of “The Power of Visualization” and teach you how to visualize using 3 techniques.
Method #1 – From the Outside In
The first way to practice visualization is to pretend that you are watching yourself on TV. See yourself on the TV screen of your mind (blue sky) as if you are a spectator looking for perfect technique, strokes, serves, returns and strategies. Remember, as far as your mind is concerned seeing is believing. The key is to actually observe and see yourself playing with perfect skills and technique. Your mind thinks this is really you and connects the muscle reactions to each picture. So now you are imprinting perfect technique and your belief system knows that you can do this. Your mind / body and beliefs become totally aligned.
Method #2 – From the Inside Out
Once you can visualize easily from the “Outside In” it is time to really step into the movie theatre of your mind. This time we want you to visualize through your own eyes as if you are actually playing a game and see the front wall, the ball, the image of your opponent, the ceiling, the back wall and general awareness of what is happening around you in the court. Now your mind and body thinks you are actually playing a game so every shot or stroke or move you make perfectly in your mind is getting imprinted into your muscle memory. This is the strongest imprint as it is exactly like the real game. Athletes say that it is worth 30% of an actual practice just to do perfect game visualizations.
My elite athletes, led by Paola Longoria and Rocky Carson, use this technique when they are too tired to practice or when they are injured, and now during this quarantine we are in. This style of visualizing gives you the most direct and deepest imprint for eye / hand and eye / foot co-ordination.
Method #3 – Guided Imagery
Guided Imagery is a condensed version of “visualization.” Often there is not enough time for a full or deep visualization session so athletes use “guided imagery” instead.
Guided Imagery is when we just close our eyes and instantly create an image on the movie screen of our mind (6 inches in front of our forehead). It is like a 5 x 7 photo of what we want to happen next and how we want to perform. It is actually like a snapshot picture with a camera. We do this on the court in-between points or it can also be done outside the court in your car, on a plane or in the locker room. It is a mental flash or a visual reminder of what you want to happen next. Desire it, see it, feel it and hit it. It gets as easy as that.
Remember we are all in “quarantine” and it’s a perfect time to start “VISUALIZING” using the above 3 METHODS…and then you can continue to use these methods all year long. Your ON COURT GAME TRAINING, is equally as important as your off court game training. I have all my athletes from my Championship Team including Rocky Carson, Paola Longoria, my Jr. Championship Team and all my amateur athletes VISUALIZING 3-5 days per week as NO ONE can be on the courts now. You can literally do your practice drills in your mind for the allotted time you would do them on the court.
Here’s an example of a 60 min. drill session you can visualize in your mind while you are on your couch, on your bed, in your backyard or wherever you are comfortable:
- 10 min. Drop & Hit FH
- 10 min. Drop & Hit BH
- 10 min. Continuous Ceiling Balls FH
- 10 min. Continuous Ceiling Balls BH
- 20 mins. on Drive Serves
You can make your drill session as long or as short as you want and keep adjusting what skills you are working on…which stroke, what shots, which serves (drives or lobs), your return of serves (going to the ceiling or hitting a pass), your footwork (crossover and shuffle or cross over and run), etc. You will be amazed at how you feel after and the results you will obtain…trust me. *For more details on how to drill and what to drill check out Chapter 8, Practicing Perfectly, P.205-214 of my “Championship Racquetball” book.
This is a critical part of developing and maintaining their games, as well as yours.
“VISUALIZATION” is yet another required skill on the road to championship racquetball. ALL of the players I coach, from the professionals led by Rocky and Paola to the amateurs, know just how important it is to “VISUALIZE”. Their records speak for themselves…Rocky and Paola are BOTH 2 of the most decorated athletes in racquetball. Paola finished the 2018/2019 ranked #1 on the LPRT (an undefeated season again) for the 9th consecutive season. Rocky finished the 2018/2019 ranked #2 on the IRT.
In the next issue I will continue to build your Championship Racquetball Game one level at a time so you too can be ready to become the champion you always dreamed of becoming, by giving you the tools to make it a reality. Rocky and all my athletes know “Championship Racquetball Games” stem from their focus on ALL 3 sides of the triangle working together so they can develop into top competitors. Without a shadow of a doubt, they KNOW just how important it is to do the work. They are living proof it works and their titles substantiate it.
For details on more personalized instruction/video lesson/coaching, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s and our book, Championship Racquetball, ALL which covers all aspects of the Sports Racquetball Triangle and more, please visit www.FranDavisRacquetball.com
Coaches #3 IRT Pro Player / 1X US Open Champion / 5X World Champion, 2X Pan American Champion, Rocky Carson; Coaches #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player for 9 seasons / 10X and present US Open Champion & 5X World Champion, 3X and present Pan American Champion, Paola Longoria; Coaches Jr. World & National Champions, Briana Jacquet and Graci Wargo; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP. Fran Davis is a 2004 racquetball Hall of Fame inductee; Racquetball Woman of the Year 2009.