Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eisntein said so

How It Works

"Imagination more important than knowledge" !

Mental imagery (such as “visualizing,” “seeing in the mind's eye,” “hearing in the head,” “imagining the feel of,” etc.) is an quasi-perceptual experience. It resembles a real experience but it occurs in the absence of the appropriate external stimuli.
The deal is that when you imagine yourself perform to perfection and doing precisely what you want, you are in turn creating a physiological neural patterns in your brain, just as if you had performed the action. The purpose is to obtain a level of arousal that is optimal for your performance.

You are developing a mental blueprint of key performance (the much thought-after zone) and you improve your confidence by using all your senses to recreate the sensations of a previous or future performance in a positive image of doing it right.

  • When you are replaying a hand in your mind, you are using imagery.
  • When you are REplaying a backward squeeze in your mind, you are using imagery. (No looking at the hand record)

It is like playing a movie in your mind. Some people will see the images as if they are watching a movie (external) while others will see them as if they are behind the camera (internal). Either one approach will work. Some people are better at forming pictures in their heads than others. Or some people may excel in certain sensory experiences and not others. Find what works for you through practice.

How to do it

A long version of the technique would be used before the competition to optimise your chances to get into the zone. While a “quick set routine” will be useful during a match to ward off any wanted state of mind or between two matches.

  1. Use imagery to get pumped up or conversely, use it tone down if you are over excited
  2. Use imagery to practice card play techniques

In either cases, it requires practice. The more you do, the better you become. Practice your imagery for 15 to 20 minutes a day initially to ensure that you're learning to do it properly. But as you become more skilled and comfortable with the technique, you'll be able to do it for just a few minutes at a time as needed throughout the day. Use it every day, on your way to a practice game, during practice, in the evening...
How much time it will take before you begin to see results depends on the vividness of your imagery and your own determination.

Going though Justin Lall blog, I found this post where he talks about his own pre-game preparation. Going through books, techniques already known etc, is also a form of imagery Justin Lall - back to basics

Step by step

Select a previous event where your performance was very strong – Not necessarily an event when you won but an event where you performed at the top of your potential.

  • Make it a world championship you won if you have one behind your belt
  • If not make it an event you won and you know you were playing your best game (it is not sufficient to select an event you won, you may have been just damn lucky)
  • Or make is just one tough match against very skilled opponents (per your own standards)
  • First make sure you practice away from distractions
  • It may help to start by imagining yourself relaxed, or alternatively imagine yourself smiling, feeling good
  • Bring back to your mind all the elements of the event
  • Revisit the venue, use all your sense to bring back the scene
  • See yourself going to the venue, inspecting the venue
  • Use all your senses to bring back the scene – (visual, auditory, touch, smell) as if you were there. The physical layout, the weather, your route to the venue, (even if just going down the lift) the various players who were there, the organisation of the event
  • Bring back how you felt,, going through your pre-game routine, your emotions, your state of mind
  • Select a game and imagine getting to the table, sitting down, remember your opponents, inspecting their cards
  • Bring back a particular contract, the card play, the result (pick one where you went plus through good skills )
  • Imagine the end of the event, the last score up
  • Bring back the apotheosis, the results being announced, walking to the podium to receive your trophy.
  • See yourself standing up accepting the award.

Open your eyes again (if they were closed that is) and then rejoin the real world

Tips and tricks

If you have trouble forming images:

  • Try thinking in pictures rather than words
  • Look at pictures or videos prior to using imagery
  • Stay in a quiet, relaxed and calm environment to avoid distractions

Some general principles:

  • Make the movie seem as realistic as possible by including all senses, in full color and detail, within a similar emotional context
  • Practice imagery regularly as it may take months before seeing improvement
  • Believe that imagery works, as your attitudes and expectations enhance the effect
  • Keep a focused yet relaxed attention while using imagery
  • Internal imagery is most effective. Picture yourself actually accomplishing the feat (from your minds eye), rather than viewing yourself from the outside looking in.
  • Only imagine perfection. This will boost your self-confidence and reinforce good habits.

1 comment:

  1. Very good advice, Catherine. I use imagery when I play Golf. Imagery is very good to use in sports such as Golf and Tennis, where you are playing against yourself or an opponent. One can also use imagery in the work place as well. Check out my blog on American College athletics. You'l find interesting articles about how American Student-athletes are succeeding both on the filed or court and in the classroom. Several Australian Student-Athletes excel in the classroom and on the pitch and court at American Universities. I'll try to write a blog about them sometime. One such Basketball player from Australia is Patrick Mills, an Aussie Guard on the St. Mary's (CA) University Basketball Team. He is one of 5 Aussies on the team. Also, on my blog there are adds and info about sports coaching, getting athletic scholarships to American universities, and some cool U-Tube videos. You can also be a follower of my blog, Catherine.


    Ken Gustafson
    Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA