Richard Stockton College Athletic Training

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A monthly Newsletter that will address the "mental" aspects of athletic competition. The topics will deal with athletic injury and general competition concepts and strategies.

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Doreen Greenberg is a Certified Sports Psychology Consultant, she obtained her Doctorate from Temple University in Psycho-Social Interaction in Sport and her Master's degree from Villanova University in Counseling and Human Relations. She is an Assistant Professor at Stockton. She has experience with collegiate, olympic and professional athletes. Doreen is also a member of the USOC Sport Psychology Registry.

Mind Power- Part 3

By Doreen Greenberg, Ph.D

You can get MIND POWER. You can train your mind, like you train your body for sports, to accomplish what you want. One of the best examples of the powerful mind-body connection is imagery.

Mind Power 3 - Positive Imagery - training your mind to control your body!

"In order to be a great champion you must believe that you are the best, and if not- pretend that you are." --Muhammed Ali

What is imagery?
It's sometimes called mental rehearsal or visualization. It is creating & re-creating an experience in your mind. The idea is to mentally picture a successful event in your head as vividly as possible. And in doing so, you enhance the probability that it will happen.

It's not that hard --we do it naturally, all the time. We have daydreams, we remember things, we plan, we set goals, we hope for something. It does take some practice to do it right. But it can be very powerful.

How does it work?
• When you imagine yourself performing exactly the way you want - you are creating patterns in your brain (the same way we create fears)- pathways for future behaviors.
•Your brain cells will follow these patterns that you are mentally practicing.
• You are the DIRECTOR, WRITER, PRODUCER AND STAR for your own images
•You have the power to create the perfect performance image of yourself.

Imagery can be very useful for athletes.
You can use it to manage your emotions, and adjust your energy level. It is a good way to maintain your level of intensity. Athletes use mental rehearsal to perfect new skills and fine-tune old ones. It can help a lot for concentration and focus - or to refocus when you've lost it. It's also a wonderful motivator - picturing your goals can help you get through those tough practice sessions. Imagery is a great confidence-building strategy. After all, your image is completely under your control.

So use it to prepare for competition. Make it a habit-- like stretching & warming up, getting mentally ready for the challenge.

Keywords for imagery: Insider's view; controllability; vividness.
Rather than taking the viewpoint of the observer watching an athlete in action, try to take the "insider's view". This means that your perspective should be from within the athlete. It's not like watching yourself on a T.V. screen, it's imagining you are really doing it. You see and hear and feel all the things you would while performing your sport. This insider view is more effective.

Remember, you control everything in your own imagination. You're in charge of what happens in your imagery. Use your power wisely - imagine success. Keep those images as vivid and real as possible. The more authentic-the better. Think about possible scenarios -with all the details.

Imagery guidelines:

—Relax first

•Take a few deep breaths and settle down before you start.
—Use all your senses
•Try to incorporate all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings of your event.
—Construct clear and real images.
•Have specific images-- they will be more powerful
—Try to have an "insider's view".
•Concentrate on the details
—Always, always, always imagine the positive.
•Picture the possible. Reach for your goals. Dare to dream.

Beginner imagery: try the following for practice.
—On top of a mountain
—Seeing a sunrise
—On the moon
—Flying over clouds
—Looking out over the ocean

Intermediate imagery: next, try the following script.
You are familiar with the fluid replacement drinks that replace the valuable electrolytes lost during strenuous exercise. Use this image to help you to replace what you need during your sport. Imagine numerous water bottles on a table. Each contains an ingredient that you need, and when you drink it, it will create itself within you.

SELF-CONFIDENCE, POWER, STRENGTH, SPEED, ENERGY, CALMNESS, COURAGE, ENDURANCE, and anything else you need to have for your sport performance.

As you drink from the bottle, see and feel the ingredients flowing through your entire body. Feel it being absorbed into your skin and organs. Imagine looking into a full-length mirror and seeing yourself become this athlete. See yourself performing like this new image. Feel the joy and satisfaction. Release all the imaged from the past that limited your potential.

Advanced imagery:
Now you are ready to create your own imagery for your sport. Just follow the guidelines. If it doesn't work at first - it's okay. Stop and rewind. Try it again. You have all the controls - if its fuzzy-make it clear. If you are having trouble at first - put it into Black & White (like and old movie). Or play it in your head in slow motion. Then put it into living color or at real speed. Keep trying-until you get it right.

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