Local Experts: How to use mental visualization to enhance performance [dancers]

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We all have some areas in our dancing to work on, especially when competing. Apart from hard work and training, there is one powerful tool that can help us achieve goals faster. It’s called visualization.

Visualization is a tool that many athletes, performers, and people who achieved success in their lives practice daily. In the dance world, those who practice visualization can learn how to be in control over their body. They learn how to be present in every dance, how to stay focused, and anything else that a dancer wants to improve.

So, why not take the advantage of it and become a better dancer? Picture a perfect day for a performance. Is the sun out? Is the sky clear?

Now think of the audience. What do they look like? Are they happy, sad or a mix?

Now, finally, think of what you want to accomplish as a dancer. What does your posture look like, how is your body line, what are you going to get done in this performance? How will you do this?

Visualization has become a very recent phenomenon for modern-day athletes in many sports. There are now many coaches and trainers that tell their athletes to visualize what they would like to accomplish in their performances. More research and more writing are coming out on this very topic.

The reason that this method has become so much more popular is that athletes often tend to get in their own heads and remember what they did poorly in previous performances or competitions. They continue to relive in their minds what their coach pointed out that was wrong or a major mistake that they had made. This negative mindset causes the athlete to become more likely to repeat that same mistake again as they continually visualize the negative aspects of their play.

Therefore, the average athlete may benefit from mentally visualizing what they would desire to accomplish next time. They can do this lying down or seated, but they must slow their breathing and close their eyes as they do so. Then, they should imagine how their body will be positioned, how the performance will go, and even how they will feel when they do accomplish this task.

The more they do this, the more likely they will be to accomplish this very task in their athletic competition.

How to Visualize?

Visualizing doesn’t mean you should sit for hours in your room and only imagine achieving the goals. Don’t forget you still need work to do. Do it for 5-15 minutes, perhaps a half an hour in certain situations. But, don’t do it longer than that. Your brain needs a break from visualizing too.

Before starting visualization, take a few deep breaths to lay out the foundation for imagining your goal and focus on the good feelings.

Relax your entire body and just feel comfortable. Also, do that when imagining your training. Imagine how comfortable you are with all the moves and how easily and quickly you perform. If you learn how to do it, visualization can create a positive foundation for your success, since it will nourish your mind with positive images and unleash your potential.

Through visualization, you’ll become more focused and ready to work, and more able to face setbacks. Constantly imagining your goals and feeling like you’re already achieved them will definitely give you motivation to move forward and actually work on them. Give it a try before your next performance to reap the benefits on stage.

Chris Phillips is an Athletic Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Sports Safety Specialist with over 25 years’ experience in professional hockey, football, dance, cheerleading, and soccer. Chris has worked with hundreds of professional, Olympic and Hall of Fame athletes and is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California. For more information, visit competesportsperformance.com

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