Just Imagine What You Could Do

“That summer, as a follow-up to the conversation. I called Shane and asked him, ‘Shane, this morning while you were shaving, did you look in the mirror and imagine that you were looking at next year’s conference player of the year?’ He chuckled and began to respond, ‘Coach, c’mon, I didn’t…’ Click, I hung up the phone. The next day, I called him again and this time asked, ‘When you were on your way to your internship this morning, did you picture yourself going for 30 points against Virginia?’  Again, Shane responded with a cautious laugh. I hung up on him again. A few seconds later, my phone rang and it was Shane. ‘Coach, don’t hang up on me!’…’I won’t hang up on you if you won’t hang up on you.’ We made a deal that he would imagine those things. Shane needed to imagine because, by doing so, when the time came and he actually found himself in those situations, he would feel as if he had already been there.”

Mike Krzyzewski – Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords For Success


“Visualization is a powerful tool because it helps your mind prepare your body for what’s coming.”

Jonathan Fader – Life Is Sports


The impact of your performance during the game will be defined by the intensity of your mental imagery and visualizations before the game. Given the physical and emotional demands of playing basketball, it’s imperative that you condition and prepare your mind to perform on the court. It’s using your different senses to develop a full picture of how you want and plan to play.


Here is a simple 6-step process to mentally rehearse and visualize different plays or game-time situations:


1. Identify the play or game-time situation
2. Identify your physical position at the beginning of the play or situation
3. Identify your primary role and responsibilities
4. Identify one of your personal strengths that will help you
5. Identify your performance objectives (visual and verbal cues highlighting the major steps or moves during that play or situation)
6. Identify a positive feeling from a successful performance


Then when you find yourself in the actual game, and facing a particular play or situation that you have practiced visualizing, you can simply review 4 short verbal and visual cues: role – personal strength – performance objectives – positive feeling.


Anthony Lanzillo is a mental skills coach to athletes and writes about the mental game for various sports websites. You can check out his work at www.thementalpeak.com.

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