The Day I Believed In Mental Imagery And Visualization

June 9, 2014

mental imagery and visualization

During my early high school days, I needed some relief from tennis from time to time and my dad thought it was a good idea to get involved in the different sports at school when I wasn’t training on the tennis court. I joined the soccer team, the baseball team, and the basketball team. I loved all of these sports, but basketball stood out for me much more than the others. I wanted to become a better basketball player, there was only one problem―I sucked at shooting. I was faster then everyone, jumped as high as everyone, and understood the basketball playbook very well. But I sucked at shooting.

An Unlikely Shooting Mentor Showed Up

My basketball coach at the time would always use me in the plays to distribute the ball and to set picks etc., but I wanted to be a bigger part of the team’s offence, but he told me that wouldn’t happen unless I learned how to shoot better. For the next few weeks I pulled a Michael Jordan; I was in the gym before tennis and school shooting around, and I was in the gym in the evening after tennis shooting around. I must have shot a thousand shots per day from every area of the court, but was only getting a little better and I didn’t understand, and neither did anyone else because my technique was good but something was missing.

Then came a rare moment of softness from “the beast” (my dad). He stepped out on to the basketball court and started shooting free throws with me. My dad never played basketball in his life, but had a decent idea of how it was done. He grabbed the ball and tried to dribble it to the free throw line with no success, then he just walked the ball there. He put his left foot in front of his right foot just behind the free throw line and told me not to talk to him until he said it was OK.

The Power Of mental Imageryvisualization against anxiety

He held the ball up as if he was holding a giant egg, very gently, with two hands right next to each other behind the ball. I almost started to crack up in laughter and how funny he looked. He stared at the rim for 10 seconds and told me “pass the ball to me after each shot, please.” Wow he said please, I thought to myself.

He let the shot go off of his fingertips and with one of the ugliest follow through I’ve ever seen from a basketball shot, the ball went straight into the hoop for a swish without touching any part of the rim or backboard. I passed the ball back to him and he looked at the rim again for 10 seconds before taking his shot and again―swish.

At this point I was thinking to myself, what luck! So I passed him the ball again and for a third straight time―swish! Then again and again. I thought to myself, I practice day and night and get absolutely no results, and my old man jumps in out of nowhere and never taken a shot in his life and nails five free throws like it was nothing. He started to look at the rim less and less after the first five, and he made the next 23 shots without touching the rim, and by the end of it he was only taking around two seconds to shoot the ball.

28 Shots In A Row

After the free throw session I asked him how he was able to make 28 free throws in a row without hitting the rim and never having shot a basketball before. “Visualize and focus,” he calmly said. He showed me how to create a mental image of how I wanted the ball to go in the net after each shot, and to be able to do it in a split second. Because of his teaching I was able to become a big part of the offence in the next few months on my basketball team because I was apparently now a “sharpshooter.”

I applied mental imagery and visualization towards everything I wanted to create in my life, as well as use it as a tool to stop my anxiety disorder naturally.

Don’t be at the mercy of events or circumstances or even other people. Understand that you are the cause just as I was and your reality is in fact the effect. The sooner you realize this the sooner your life will turn around.

Has the power of visualization shaped your life in someway? Share your experiences in the comment section below…

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