Getting Your Mental Picture

“I have never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture in my head.  It’s like a color movie.  First I ‘see’ the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there; its path, trajectory and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is sort of a fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the image into reality.” (Jack Nicklaus, Gold My Way, Simon & Schuster, New York, p. 79, 1974)

One expert on mental efforts in sport has written to see yourself as the champion.  It seems to fit the fake it until you make it philosophy.  While this appears silly it there is some merit to the mindset. However, faking it doesn’t supplant practice and training.  Those you can’t fake.

During practice don’t daydream you’re the winning of the next event. Use that time to focus your mind on the shot.  Before the shot, in your head go through your process and see your arrow land exactly where you want it to go. Then relax and make your shot.

Once that shot has completed clear your head, relax and move to the next shot.  Sure you’ll visualize yourself on the podium.  But, before you can get there you’ve got to execute one arrow at a time.

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