Dr. Michael Gervais is a sports psychologist who prefers the term “imagery” to “visualisation,” to keep the focus on all five senses rather than just sight.
He has become a huge propagator of this technique observing how MMA legend and BJJ GOAT Rickson Gracie explained imagery in Choke:
“It’s the most beautiful movie, and every time I relive it I create images and nuances that I want to experience.”
The idea of visualization is not to try to predict the future but to prepare your mind for the trial that’s coming and anything that can be thrown into the mix. For a grappler this means even visualizing everything from stepping onto the tatami upto the tiniest details.
Gervais advocates that this type of preparation is not to be underestimated – mental preparation is crucial even and especially for those who are on very top of their game.
Gervais said that it is necessary to practice imagery on a regular basis well in advance of game day (or the day you give your presentation), because otherwise it’s a “hack” and won’t be as effective.
Here’s how he best explained it:
“The objective is to create such a lifelike experience that your body believes that it could be real,” he said. It’s a full sensory experience. “So there’s a switching on or an animation that happens within you when you create an image that is crisp and has colour, and sound, and smell, and taste.”
“Mindfulness is about insight and wisdom. The aim of imagery is enhanced performance.”
You can listen to performance psychologist of elite athletes and coaches explain it all n the latest episode of Tim Ferriss’ podcast on How to Overcome Anxiety and Stress
Rugged and hostile environments teach us. And they teach us by leveraging real fear.”
– Michael Gervais concluded