Sweet coincidence that the daily thought is about thinking; thinking about tumbling, to be more specific.
And this isn’t just a silly play on words or a superficial philosophical musing. No, this is something I worry about every time I think of my athletes’ needs, which is everyday, if I’m honest. And if I look at this how it deserves to be examined, it is a reminder to do more of the valuable exercises I have taken for granted lately.
It’s a reminder to do more mental training.
And I will recommend that you ask your athletes to actively think about their skills, drills, and passes. Science shows us that visualisation exercises activate the same parts of the brain involved in learning and performing a task.
According to some studies, not only can visualisation assist the learning process, it can accelerate it.
Think about that for a minute (see what I did there?). If seeing pictures in your head can improve your ability to learn, why not play mental movies all the time?
Well, because as much as some of us are good at daydreaming, visualisation isn’t easy for everyone. But, that shouldn’t be an obstacle to better mental training, only a challenge to the coach to be more creative with their lesson plans and programs.
Just like physical drills enhance the ability to move, mental drills will help with the understanding of those movements. And this means we have to practise them consistently.
I wrote in The Coach’s Log about this topic and there are several links to scholarly articles about the benefits of visualisation to learning in the post.
Science has concluded that proper visualisation techniques can also improve motivation and engagement, both essential to successful training.
And if science tells me something has value to my athletes, I’ll take it seriously.
Thank you for reading.
— Coach José