Although many, many athletes credit visualization and mental training to their success (see last week’s post on Michael Phelps for example), what does the science say? Does it really work?
For an answer, let me quote from an article in the September 2015 edition of Popular Science magazine which said,
“Sports psychologists have conducted hundreds of studies comparing imagined and physical practice for actions such as throwing darts, juggling, and tap dancing. Overall, the research shows that mental training works. A 2012 study, for example, compared 32 amateur golfers who putted to another 32 who merely held a golf club in their hands and visualized their swings. Under the same training regimen, both groups improved their putts by getting the ball about 4 inches closer to the hole.”
One thing the article does caution though is that mental training will only work if you know the proper technique for executing the task successfully. So, similar to the old saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect,” we can also say, “Perfect mental practice makes perfect.”
Wishing you success in all aspects of life,
Founder & President
Smart Health Wellness & Performance, Inc.