Winning isn’t always a matter of ending at the no. 1 spot. Anybody who works and trains hard enough can probably do it, but there’s no telling what they’ll look or feel like by the time they get there. Whether you agree with Malcom Gladwell’s ten thousand hour rule or not, there’s a smart way to do things and a stubborn way.
Always see losing as a learning opportunity.
On the site you’ll find articles about staying fit physically and mentally, but in this article we’re going to head into a different direction in terms of being a mental winner. In fact, the mental practice explained below is somewhat unorthodox but very effective, and it’s called visualization. Some of the best athletes around the world use it to increase their performance naturally, and you’re going to learn the same thing today.
The Best Setting for Visualization
Before you start freaking out about how long this is going to take, relax. It only requires about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how much you end up enjoying it. And it needs to happen in a quiet and peaceful space. If possible, put on some headphones and listen to music that gets you relaxed and calm. You don’t want anybody disturbing you in this time, so it’s best to plan it out your spot ahead of time.
The setting should be anywhere where you feel comfortable and where there aren’t any distractions. Nothing should pull your concentration from the matter at hand.
Get Your Body in the Mood
The body is always connected to the mind, which means if your body is hyper you won’t be able to relax and visualize properly. The best way to get your body calm is through breathing. Take about ten deep breathes while sitting in a comfortable chair. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and stay conscious of every breath you take. Feel your lungs expand and deflate, and concentrate only on the breathing.
Start to Visualize
Now comes the interesting part where you begin to visualize, and it starts with vividly seeing a place in your mind that makes you relax even more. You can be sitting on the beach, or standing on top of a mountain, as long as it eases your thoughts and brings your concentration into one place. After the ten deep breathes are over, just breathe normally, relax and stay still.
Of course other thoughts are going to try and intrude, and the more you resist them the more they are going to bother you. The problem with the way we are currently wired is that we can’t concentrate on something for longer than 60 seconds before something else teases our interest. The best way to handle this is to let the thought pop up, but DON’T indulge it. Just let it make room for the next one, while you focus on the nice scenery around you.
After about five minutes of getting your body more relaxed, you start to visualize gameplay strategies. Play things out in your mind, especially the areas you’re struggling with, and see yourself overcoming the odds. The more specific and detailed you can be, the better.
You know the rules, you know your opponents and what they are capable, so use what you know in your dream sequence so-to-speak.
What’s the Point?
First of all, yes, this is a form of meditation. The difference is you’re not trying to connect to the spiritual world. Instead, you are trying to connect with your subconscious, the place where all your brilliance and power is stored. If we were to label this visualization process, then it would be something between meditation and hypnosis.
Conclusive research shows that practicing for something visually, inside the confines of your mind that is, actually works the muscles inside the body. How is this possible? Because your body is under the impression it’s actually doing something. Granted, you’re not going to build muscles just through visualization, but it triggers the same muscles and reflexes you need when physically performing.
Research also shows that mentally practicing on a daily basis will help you improve your sport a lot quicker, but in a healthier way because there are other benefits involved. In the long run you are gaining more control over your ability to focus for longer periods, and you’re learning to empty your mind, which is when your concentration levels are at their best.
Visualization might not sound like your ticket to the eSport big leagues, but you’ll be surprised at how far it gets you.