Mind Over Sports

WHY SOME COACHES’ EYES GLAZE OVER WHEN DISCUSSING VISUALIZATION.

Posted on: February 23, 2012

I live in Springfield, Missouri, where currently taking place is the 60th Annual National Collegiate Handball Championships Tournament with male and female athletes coming from schools all over the United States and even Ireland. As a former handball player myself, I had a special interest in watching some of the games. While visiting with some of the coaches I was amazed to learn how uninformed many of them were about visualization and were unaware of the importance of athletes ridding themselves of baggage and issues before competing. It kind of re-enforced my belief that some coaches today really don’t put much faith in the benefits of visualization. In fact, one head basketball coach at a Midwestern university, who was also a former assistant at a Big Ten University, told one of his players – who shared the information with me – that he thought visualization was “sissy stuff.” Boy, is he ever wrong! There were, however, two handball coaches who understood completely. One was Dr. Tommy Burnett, the current head coach for handball at Missouri State University here in Springfield, who I’ve known for many years and has had great success as MSU’s head coach, and the other was Dr. Warren K. Simpson (also known as “Spider”) who is the head coach at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. The reason “Spider” was so knowledgeable, I found out, was because he was not only a trained sport psychologist (as is Dr. Burnett) but also has a degree in counseling which allows him to delve into his athletes’ personal problems and issues before having them visualize. It’s really too bad more coaches aren’t better informed about the benefits of visualization and why it’s essential that athletes rid themselves (or begin the process of ridding themselves) of unresolved issues in their lives before initiating the visualization process. Those who practice this process are almost guaranteed to be more successful than those who don’t, assuming they have similar skill levels.

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