Visualisation is the term used to mentally rehearse a technique, match, situation etc. It’s like playing a film in your mind’s eye. We all daydream in our lives from time to time and some do it more than others, right? Well, visualisation is kind of a controlled daydream.
It has been scientifically proven that it really does aid sporting performance. This is where the top squash players really excel. They are able to use most, and I’m sure in some cases all, of their senses to rehearse a good technique and even an upcoming match.
You can visualise with either your eyes open or closed, however, it’s probably best to get away from any distractions and find a quiet place so you can have them closed. A good time to do it is when you wake up first thing in the morning or even before going to sleep at night. The key to good visualisation is to really feel the experience and become one with it.
For example, try this technique to improve your touch drop shot at the front of the court.
First, you must know the outcome… the goal… the target… where you want the ball to finish. Then, in your mind’s eye, see yourself moving to the ball with great balance and poise. Really put your mind into how your body feels as it moves effortlessly to the ball. As your racket begins it’s journey to the ball, feel the weight of the racket in your hand, notice how softly you hold the racket. As you make contact with the ball, feel the sensations in your hand, how heavy the ball feels on your strings. Then finally, and this is more important than anything else, see that perfect drop shot softly fade away tight into the side wall.
The great american golf player Jack Nicklaus would never hit a golf shot before initially, executing that perfect shot, in his mind’s eye. He would stand behind his ball facing the target and visualise the shot like a film playing in his mind. It’s interesting but not surprising that he did this with his eyes open and not closed. Firstly, he would see the ball sitting nicely on the green in the area that would give him the best chance of making a putt. Then he would fast rewind the film back to him setting up and striking the ball. He would watch the flight, the ball landing on the intended part of the green and watch it roll to where he wanted it to finish. More often that not, his actual shot would be more or less the same as the shot visualised so I guess it’s no surprise or fluke, that he’s won more majors than any other golfer in history up to this present time.
The great thing about visualisation is that it can be done anywhere and at anytime with eyes open or closed. A word of warning though, make sure you’re not doing it when your spouse is trying to get some sense out of you.