Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Visualization

A number of years ago I made a startling discovery: When athletes have a high sense of inner-self and their lives are in harmony, they are able to use visualization techniques effectively. They will not only perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis, but will also create positive events in their lives, on and off the field of competition. But when their lives are in disharmony, visualization and other mental techniques become ineffective. If they are experiencing personal problems and have unresolved issues hovering above them like a dark cloud, those problems and issues definitely affect their ability to perform in their sport.

I also found that the worst thing athletes can do to negatively affect their performance is to withhold their feelings and emotions. Withholding is a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their sense of inner-self, creating psychological baggage that affects their ability to focus and process information.

I was once playing in a handball tournament in Overland Park, Kansas. Just before I left for the courts my wife and I had a little disagreement about a subject but I didn’t think too much about it. When I arrived at the tournament, and after I was suited up and about to step onto the courts, something didn’t feel right. I excused myself and called my wife on the phone and told her how sorry I was about the tiff we had had and she told me she was so glad I called because she felt the same way. I told her when I returned home that evening we could talk about the issue and, together, figure out how to resolve it. She told again how happy she was that I had called.
I hung up the phone and, with the use of visualization, played some of the best handball of my life. But if I hadn’t made that phone call, I probably would have played some of the worst.

And by the way, one of the best visualization techniques involves the use of “Power Videos” which are personal highlight videos of yourself with a music soundtrack with meaningful lyrics. You watch your video over and over again and then just before you step onto the court you listen to just the soundtrack and if your life is in harmony, you will re-create the images from your video during competition.

Advertisements

I just finished watching the movie “Concussion” about the work of Nigerian-born pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu and his theory of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It was something new in the world of sports and met with an enormous amount of opposition, especially by the National Football League. For the past thirty years I’ve been attempting to convey a new idea regarding sports performance enhancement and have met with a great deal of opposition. Most people, when I tell them about my theory, just say they’ve never given the idea much thought but did see my point of view, although it’s almost impossible to prove. And therein lies the problem. The research is only anecdotal. Not scientific.

If you read any sports page in America you’ll find the focus on what the winning team did in order to win and the success they had in order to win the game. In other words, all the things they did that were right. The emphasis is always on the positive aspects of competition and very little attention is given the negative mainly because no one really knows what goes on behind the scenes in the personal lives of athletes.

For example, there’s not much you can say about why, in a basketball game, a three point shooter suddenly makes only 1 for 12 three point shots when he normally hits 5 for 12. Or why a football running back fumbles the ball twice in a game or a wide-receiver drops three passes that hit him right on the numbers. Or how a baseball team played poorly because there was some issue that created negativity in the locker room such as a fight between two players, resulting in poor team chemistry.

I’m a firm bIeliever that what goes on away from the field of competition affects what takes place on the field of competition. Compassionate coaches who are highly successful understand this but there are a lot of coaches out there who still don’t get it. They have their teams “visualize” success but don’t understand that in order for visualization to be effective there must be a fusing of psychotherapy with visualization.

If I were a coach and had to choose between having a team with excellent talent and very little team chemistry, or a team with a huge amount of team chemistry and only moderate talent, I’ll take the latter.

When it comes to being successful, team chemistry wins out every time. And how do you build good team chemistry?  By transforming your team into a support group.  But let’s be clear. I’m not referring to “team meetings” – where not much generally happens, but rather creating an environment that is closed off from the public where players are encouraged to air their grievances, not only with each other but also with the coaching staff, without being punished. An environment where players are able to discuss whats going on in their personal lives; the problems they may be having with members of the opposite sex;  financial problems; parental problems at home. All of these affect performance, and if not addressed, will show up during competition as mental errors because there will be a lack of focusing.

Some of the topics that should be discussed in team support group sessions include dealing with misdirected anger, what we see in others is what we’re carrying around within ourselves, the myth of the team, expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies, the power of beliefs, and goals and intentions, just to name a few. And after players unload their personal problems and issues with their teammates, they will not only be a closer knit group, but they will then be more focused and ready for visualization, which I recommend be done to special music on video tape. I call them “Power Videos.”

So if you’re a coach, next time, don’t just have a team meeting; have a support group session. You’ll be amazed at the results.

We’re all familiar with how athletes are able to enhance their performance by visualizing themselves being successful, but the visualization process can also be used in a negative way by kooks in our society who are angry and feel they are victims of society. They are often walking time bombs who have come from dysfunctional families and have a low sense of self-worth because they received very little, if any, love and nurturing in their lives. I believe such was the case in Charleston, S.C. when a white gunman walked into a church and murdered nine innocent people. One has to wonder if he had watched violence on television which then became the trigger for his actions. It may not be so for psychologically healthy people, but for that small segment of our society who carry around with them massive amounts of anger, it could very well be the source. These people subconsciously visualize the violence they see on national television and then go out and reproduce a violent scenario in real life with real people. The only way to avoid this is to intervene in their lives at a very early age when they are children by creating support groups in our public school systems that will allow them to talk about what is happening in their homes that no one knows about and which they are keeping bottled up inside themselves. Once a program like this is set up in our school systems across the country, you will see fewer and fewer Charleston S.C. scenarios.

Myth #1: Some Coaches are Great Motivators.

Contrary to most beliefs, you really can’t motivate another person.  Inspire, yes. But true motivation must come from within and over the past 27 years I’ve found that the higher a person’s feelings of self-worth (self-esteem) the more motivated he or she will become.  If I were speaking to a group of people in a room and my job was to motivate them, the first thing I would do would be to organize them into a support group so they could talk about personal issues they may be keeping bottled inside themselves and as they talk about their issues and vent their feelings, they’ll start to feel better about themselves and will automatically become more motivated.  The most successful coaches are those who provide an internal mechanism for players to communicate with their teammates and discuss their issues together.  And once they do, their performance levels will increase.

Which brings me to a discussion of a book entitled:  “The Motivational Breakthrough: 6 Secrets for Turning On the Tuned-Out Child.”  But unfortunately, I couldn’t disagree with the author more.  He maintains that if you want to motivate children in school, you need to use the six P’s: Praise, Power, Projects, People, Prizes and Prestige.  From my perspective, if you want to motivate children in school, especially those who are highly unmotivated, you need to do what I’ve described above as applied to sports teams.  That is, put them into support groups and allow them to talk about issues in their personal lives and what is going on at home.  Once they open up and discuss their feelings and emotions in a support group setting with their peers, they will enhance their own feelings of self-worth and will automatically become more motivated.  There’s a correlation between High Self-Esteem and High Motivation and Low Self-Esteem and Low Motivation.  You have to work from the inside out, not the outside in.  And the same goes for so-called “Motivational Speakers” who I believe are a hoax. They should be called “Inspirational Speakers.”

Myth #2: The More We Believe We’re Part of a Team the More Successful We’ll Become.

I call this “The Myth of the Team,” and here’s how it works:  The more we believe we’re part of a team, the less productive we become. I want to repeat that because it’s so important. The more we believe we’re part of a team, the less productive we become. The general belief is that the opposite is true but it’s not. You see it very clearly on a team where one player is superior to others. The players who perceive themselves as less superior allow the more talented player to take over and lead the group. In the case of a basketball team, they allow the one player to rebound, to shoot, and to, in effect, be the team. As a result, their individual performances are inhibited. To counteract this, I always encourage coaches to take each player into their office and privately tell that player what he the coach expects of him or her in the coming game. Twenty points, ten rebounds, and so on. This sends a message to each player that he or she is perceived as an “individual” and has goals to achieve as an individual, rather than letting someone else take over his or her function. It also establishes expectations.

Myth #3: Positive Affirmations Always Work.

I once read a book that espoused a theory concerning positive affirmations.  This particular book, written by a sport psychologist, maintained that if you say the phrase over and over again “I am a courageous, risk-taking warrior” that you can overcome your fear of taking a risk.  This may work fine with people who have high self-esteem, but for those with a low sense of self-worth you’re speaking on deaf ears because risk-takers they are not.  There is no affirmation in the world yet devised that can get them to take a risk, until they deal with whatever issues they have in their lives that are affecting how they feel about themselves.  Then, the higher their self-esteem, the more likely they are to risk.

Athletes who want to begin feeling good about themselves must identify and begin resolving important issues in their lives before the results of being happy will surface.  Relying on positive affirmations is like wagging the tail of a dog and expecting the dog to be happy.  The dog must be happy first, and then its tail will wag…automatically.

Myth #4:  Visualization Always Works.

I’m a strong believer in the theory that what takes place away from the field of competition affects what takes place on the field of competition.  When athletes are encumbered with psychological baggage (issues and problems) visualization and other mental techniques will be ineffective.  As a Performance Enhancement Trainer/Consultant I’m able to help athletes with their persona problems and issues and can also teach them visualization techniques. And I’ve found that when athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony, what they visualize will actually be created during competition.

 

A number of years ago I made a startling discovery: When athletes have a high sense of inner-self and their lives are in harmony, they are able to use visualization techniques effectively. They will not only perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis, but will also create positive events in their lives, on and off the field of competition. But when their lives are in disharmony, visualization and other mental techniques become ineffective. If they are experiencing personal problems and have unresolved issues hovering above them like a dark cloud, those problems and issues definitely affect their ability to perform in their sport.

I also found that the worst thing athletes can do to negatively affect their performance is to withhold their feelings and emotions. Withholding is a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their sense of inner-self, creating psychological baggage that affects their ability to focus and process information. Withholding, if not dealt with, can also affect an athlete’s physical health.

In the late 80’s I was invited to work with the UMKC Men’s Division I basketball team halfway through their season. At that time they had a dismal 3-15 record and the coach allowed me to take the team into a room, without his being present, and create a support group atmosphere. Each team member was encouraged to air his grievances without fear of being punished, whether they be about coaches, other players, or even issues in their personal lives. I was astounded to learn how much anger they had toward each other. And much of it revolved around relationships with members of the opposite sex. We spent four hours clearing the air and then I introduced them to visualization, which none of them had ever done before. To make a long story short, they won 8 out of their next 10 games and the coach thought it was because he hadn’t changed his under shorts.

Based on the success I had with the UMKC team, I began teaching performance enhancing mental skills (such as visualization) to teams and athletes, assisting them in sorting through issues and problems they may be experiencing in their personal lives.

“Observations that contradict existing wisdom often lead toward, not away, from the truth.” – Anonymous

In 1960, Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote “Psycho Cybernetics” – a runaway best seller, and in it he introduced the concept of visualization, which subsequently was embraced by universities and colleges across this nation who were offering PhDs in sport psychology. In his book, Dr. Maltz wrote of the “Theatre of the Mind” and maintained that if individuals were to visualize something in their lives, it will take place, regardless of what is happening in their personal lives.

I must not be a very persuasive person because for the past 26 years I’ve tried unsuccessfully to convince others of something that I accidentally stumbled upon. That is, if an athlete is encumbered with unresolved issues and/or problems in his or her personal life, visualization techniques are totally ineffective. And in 1987, I read something in the media that absolutely convinced me I was on the right track. It involved one of golf’s greatest visualizers, Tom Watson. Here’s what happened: Rumors were floating around about Tom Watson’s personal life during the 1987 U.S. Open Golf Tournament. After an opening round of 72, he called a press conference and announced he was not an alcoholic, he was not divorcing his wife, and he was not firing his brother-in-law as his agent. Whatever impression his declaration made on sportswriters, he cleared the issues from his head and focused on golf. The next day he shot an outstanding 65 and finished runner-up in the tournament.

I think the main reason I’ve been unable to get this fact across to the general public is because our educational institutions are teaching otherwise. At the present time, if you have a degree in sport psychology and attempt to help an athlete with his or her personal issues you could lose your license. The reason for this is that you would be entering the domain of the clinical psychologist, which is taboo since the field of psychology is very territorial. My recommendation is that when our universities and colleges award a student with a PhD in sport psychology, they should, simultaneously, require that the student also have a masters degree in counseling. This will enable the student to help athletes with their personal problems and issues without losing his or her license. But for change to come about, our universities and colleges would be required to acknowledge they have erred over the past 52 years, and I really doubt that will happen.


N. V. I.
National Visualization Institute

Learn how to visualize, resulting in increased performance.

CONTACT MARV FREMERMAN
PHONE: 417-773-2695

Sports related, Health related, and Business Sales related.

SAMPLE VISUALIZATION SPORTS VIDEO: Visit our HTML tutorial




Welcome to Outdoor Wilderness Adventures
If you are interested in booking a hunting or fishing trip anywhere in the world, with over 800 destinations to choose from, contact Marvin Fremerman at marv@outdoorwildernessadventures.com or call 417-773-2695. We will put you in direct contact with outfitters we recommend.

If you would like to review a list of our more than 800 outfitter destinations, click through the bear that appears below.


Hunting & Fishing Trips

Click Here

Personalized Counseling



Self-esteem building workshops and positive visualization seminars for athletes, sports teams, cancer patients and at-risk youth. Also available for speaking engagements.

E-Mail Marv

marv@mindoversports.com

Or call 417-773-2695

Categories

Archives

Buy Marv’s Books!

Contact Marv

If you would like to contact Marv directly, he may be reached at:

Marv Fremerman
Mind Over Sports
2320 West Westview Street, Unit A.
Springfield, MO 65807

417-773-2695

marv@mindoversports.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 90 other followers

hit counter