Visualization: How to Improve Your Eight-Step Performance

The display Is to use the imagination to modify physical and / or emotional patterns present in different situations.

It can be great Help you with any of the following objectives:

  1. Reproduce mentally the movements corresponding to the technical execution, manipulating the speed to be able to dominate the small details Which may be essential.

  2. Learn to make tactical decisions, since you can situate yourself before certain stimuli and make the right decision (this way you will be Enhancing the functional relationship between the stimuli and the decision).

  3. Prepare the performance in competitions, exposing yourself to the conditions that you can find in the competition (for example, anticipating the Psychological difficulties and rehearsing the skills to control them).

  4. Testing behaviors just before executing them (for example, a javelin thrower tests his movements a few minutes before it's his turn launching).

  5. Contribute to the recovery process of an injury: it reduces the levels of anxiety and helps the athlete to maintain their self-confidence thanks to the Training of different situations of your sport.


In this article we will focus on visualization in the sporting context. Although it is a complex technique and it is recommended that the Train under the direction of a sports psychologist, we are going to present some points that can help you understand what this tan technique is. Useful.

The use of visualization is not limited to the sports field. You can use visualization to work with the emotions you feel in Moments that are important for you such as giving a conference, attending a job interview, taking an exam, etc.

Are you an athlete and want to optimize your performance in training and matches? To achieve your maximum performance, it is very important that, in addition to Train physical, technical and tactical skills, take time to train your psychological skills.

He Setting goals , Relaxation, practice in imagination, attentional skills or self-assessment and activation control Are some of the fundamental psychological skills that athletes should master.

What advantages does the visualization offer?

  1. Shorten learning time.

  2. Improves the stability of the skill learned.

  3. Improves accuracy and speed of execution.

  4. No material is needed.

  5. The risk of injury is virtually nil, since you do not move.

As always, not all are advantages. And is that the visualization also has some drawback:

  • It is a complex skill that requires training to be applied correctly.

  • It is necessary to have a good technical-tactical knowledge of the actions that are intended to improve.

  • Being a strategy that demands a lot of concentration, it is not advisable to extend it more than two or three minutes.

Why is the visualization effective?

There are different theories that support the effectiveness of visualization. The objective of this article is not to make a theoretical justification for the Technique, so briefly explain the three that stand out according to the criteria of the author of the article.

  • Psycho-neuromuscular Theory:

He argues that when you visualize microcontractions of the specific muscles involved in the movements you are imagining, You really are not moving. Different professionals of Psychology and of Physical Activity have been able to demonstrate this fact (among others: Jacobson, 1932; Eccles, 1958; Hale, 1982).

  • Theory of Attention Regulation:

Suggest that mental practice helps you to focus your attention on those stimuli that are most relevant to a good performance.

  • Theory of Self-efficacy:

It proposes that the visualization favors an improvement of your performance thanks, in part, to that also you increase your expectations.

If you are interested in deepening the theories that advocate the use of visualization, we recommend that you take a look at Theory of Symbolic Learning, to Bio-informational Theory and Triple Code Theory.

Steps to view

  1. Go to a quiet place

You need to find yourself in a space away from interruptions where you can relax for as long as you need. If possible, search That the space has little light, will facilitate your relaxation.

  1. just relax

Reaching a state of relaxation is vital for you to practice visualization. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises can help you achieve That state of relaxation.

In this article You can learn relaxation techniques.

  1. Concentrate

You must Focus your attention In the relevant stimuli. Sometimes these stimuli will be in the body itself, and in others, you will have to focus Your attention on external references to which you have to look to make the right decision.

Whether your goal is to improve a specific technique of your sport, or if you want to improve decision making, it is very important that you know The technical / tactical slogans. Coach and sports psychologist can help you with that.

  1. Take control of your images

The ability to control the images of your visualization is one of the keys to the technique. You must make it the image that you want the one that is in Your mind and not another.

  1. View from an internal or external perspective according to the objective

When you visualize, you can see the images as you would see them in a real situation, that is, from your own eyes (internal perspective), or you can Do it as if you were a spectator sitting on the steps looking at yourself (external perspective).

If you are working on a technical element, it will be appropriate to visualize it from an internal perspective, whereas if your objective is to review a Global action will be more appropriate from an external perspective.

  1. Modify the speed of the images according to your needs

You must learn to modify the speed of your images according to your needs. Slow motion to correct a certain technical aspect, normal speed To review the execution and fast camera when the task is long.

  1. It involves your senses

Visualizing is not just constructing visual images. You can also involve the rest of your senses: hearing (visualizing the noise of the audience or Instructions from your trainer), smell (perceiving the smell of the playing field), taste (note the taste of your sweat) and cenestesia (perceiving sensations). Involving your senses will give your images a greater vivacity.

  1. Use the environment

Public people, peers and rivals or noise are elements present in your competitive reality, but they do not always have to appear in Your visualizations. If you want to improve technical actions, it will be easier for you to visualize without taking into account the context, since it will allow you Focus on action.

To work on moods or tactical movements, it is important that you take the context into account.

At first it may be difficult to control the images that are in your mind, the perspective from which you see them or the speed at which you do it. A rigorous work with the specialist and a lot of practice will help you to improve this skill.


  1. Notes of the Master of Psychology of Sport and of the Physical Activity - UNED.
  2. Professional blog of sports psychologist Joan Vives Ribó:
  3. Buceta, J.M. (1998): Psychology of sports training. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Budney, A.J. and Woolfolk, R.L. (1990). Using the wrong image: An exploration of the adverse effects of imagery on motor performance. Journal of Mental Imagery , 14, 75-86.
  5. Carpenter, W.B. (1894). Principles of mental physiology . New York: Appleton.
  6. Eccles, J. (1958). The physiology of imagination. Scientific American , 199, 135.
  7. Lippman, L.G. and Selder, D.J. (1992). Mental practice: some observations and speculations. Journal of Sports Psychology , 1, 17-25.
  8. Sánchez, X. and Lejeune, M. (1999). Mental practice and sport: What do we know after a century of research? Journal of Sports Psychology, 8, 21-37.
  9. Suinn, R. M. (1997). Mental practice in sport psychology: Where have we been, where do we go? Clinical Psychology, Science and Practice , 4, (3), 189-207.

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