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Description: Close your eyes and imagine yourself competing at the Olympics. Imagine the race, imagine what you need to do to compete well and then imagine winning a medal! OK nice daydream but you are probably not going to the Olympics and you may not even do the sport you were dreaming about doing. We are told as children; well I was told anyway, that daydreaming does not accomplish anything. I have even stated in Introductory Psychology classes that mental imagery (practice) only helps if you are already really good at something. But guess what?! Mental imagery may actually help us non-Olympians perform better. Read the linked article and follow up on the research cited to see what might be possible! Next stop? (no not the Olympics but maybe the pool!)

Source: How to daydream your way to better athletic performance, Greg Chertok, Wellness, Eat and Run, US News.

Date: April 3, 2017

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/well/missing-keys.html

Sport Psychology is having a HUGE impact in upper end competitive sports. Over 90% of Olympic athletes are using some form of mental imagery to enhance their performance (better than drugs, that is for sure!). Why does it work? Well the same brain pathways we use to DO our activities are activated when we think about or mentally visualize doing those same things. It is practice without obvious activity. The article suggests a number of areas of performance where mental imagery or mental practice can help with real, “game day” performance.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Does mental imagery help real performance?
  2. If the answer to question 1 is yes, how does it work?
  3. Are there other areas, beyond performance athletics, where this way of practicing might have application?

References (Read Further):

Ryan, E. D., & Simons, J. (1981). Cognitive demand, imagery, and frequency of mental rehearsal as factors influencing acquisition of motor skills. Journal of Sport Psychology, 3(1), 35-45. http://fitnessforlife.org/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/8538.pdf

Sobierajewicz, J., Szarkiewicz, S., Przekoracka-Krawczyk, A., Jaśkowski, W., & van der Lubbe, R. (2016). To What Extent Can Motor Imagery Replace Motor Execution While Learning a Fine Motor Skill?. Advances in cognitive psychology, 12(4), 179. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5280057/

Kehoe, R., & Rice, M. (2016). Reality, virtual reality, and imagery: Quality of movement in novice dart players. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79(4), 244-251. http://utdr.utoledo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1569&context=graduate-projects

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