Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Visualization: A powerful way to condition your mind during off-ski trip season

If you aim for a better performance on the slopes for your upcoming ski trip, imagery or visualization is a great mental conditioning exercise you can do prior to ski season.

In fact, some of the greatest skiers and Olympic athletes, like Mikaela Shiffrin, use the power of visualization as an important key to achieving success. In an article found on forbes.com, the young gold medalist admits that before she went to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, she visualized herself standing on top of the podium winning the gold medal.

Additionally, even Sports Illustrated's  “America’s Best Woman Skier Ever” Lindsey Vonn, said that she had already seen herself racing 100 times and hitting perfect turns in her mind before her actual race.

You, too, can use visualization to your advantage before your ski vacations. Here's how:

  1. Imagine yourself skiing
Close your eyes and imagine yourself skiing. Then, think about your good qualities, or the instances like hitting a perfect turn, successful downhill run and even winning a medal. Take note also of how you feel during those times. Feel them as you visualize.

Noticeably, those positive thoughts can boost your confidence even before you hit the mountain slope.

  1. Stop focusing on mistakes
If your mind keeps focusing on your mistakes in skiing, you will only come up with more negative results. It's not uncommon for skiers to ski poorly in their visualization. This is often the result of the lack of confidence in skiing. If you ski poorly in your imagery, instantly "rewind the video” and replace it with a more positive one, and replay it until you see yourself skiing well.

  1. Move your body
A good way to increase this feeling in your imagery is to combine imagination and real sensations. While imagining yourself skiing, move your body to the rhythm of your thoughts. Position your body in your normal skiing stance, but with your eyes closed. You can also incorporate the feeling of cold, excitement and fun, as well as the sound of your skis gliding through bumps.

Crazy as it sounds, this is a good way to ingrain new technical and mental skills, as well as habits into your routine.

  1. Control your imagery speed
When working on your skiing technique in your imagery, slow your visualization down (frame by frame if necessary) to really see yourself executing the skill correctly. As you see and feel yourself skiing properly in slow motion, speed up your imagery until you can ski well at “real-time”.

Call it stupid or crazy, but visualization is a powerful way  in conditioning your mind, gaining a more positive outlook and confidence in skiing. Try it and, in no time, the person you see in your mind is already making downhill runs and achieving success in an actual ski trip.

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