Mind Over Sports


Posted on: January 14, 2010

“Psycho Self-Imagery” is the first new approach to the use of visualization techniques since the publishing of “Psycho Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in 1960, a book that has subsequently sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Many consider Maltz’s book to be the bible of the self-image industry

However, I’ve found that Dr.Maltz was not exactly on target. When he introduced his now famous “Theater of the Mind” first mentioned in his book “Psycho Cybernetics,” it became the prototype of visualization techniques worldwide.

According to a book review by Michael C. Gray, “One of Maltz’s key concepts was the Theater of the Mind, or synthetic experience. Here is an example of how it works. There are three teams of basketball players. One team practices making free throws. The second team doesn’t practice. The third team sits on a bench and mentally practices making free throws. When the three teams are tested, the team that practiced out-scores the team that didn’t practice. However, the team that mentally practiced performs nearly as well as the team that actually practiced. Maltz found he could actually improve performance by helping an individual mentally ‘see’ himself or herself doing the activity perfectly.”

But here is where Dr. Maltz and I part ways. While he felt that performance could be improved for everyone by helping individuals to mentally “see” themselves doing an activity perfectly (otherwise known as visualization), I’ve found that this type of exercise is totally ineffective if individuals are keeping their feelings and issues bottled up inside themselves. These feelings and issues must first be addressed and resolved (or begin the process of resolving them) before visualization will be effective.

Few are aware of the dominant role self-esteem plays in achieving the results you want to achieve in your life. People with high self-esteem are effective “visualizers” while those with low self-esteem are not. Individuals with high self-esteem are not encumbered with psychological baggage and unresolved issues because they confront their issues directly, while those with low self-esteem do not.

One of the main issues affecting self-esteem and preventing effective visualization, and probably the most common, is when individuals withhold their feelings. This “withholding” is a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their self-esteem. As their self-esteem is lowered they take fewer risks in interpersonal relationships, creating psychological baggage for themselves that affects their ability to focus and process information.


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N. V. I.
National Visualization Institute

Learn how to visualize, resulting in increased performance.

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