Dr. Charles Garfield, former NASA researcher and current president of The Performance-Science Institute in Berkeley, California, talks about a startling experiment conducted by Soviet sports scientists.
The study examined the effect of mental training, including visualization, on four groups of world-class athletes just prior to the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The four groups of elite athletes were divided as follows:
Group 1: did 100% physical training.
Group 2: did 75% physical training, 25% mental training.
Group 3: did 50% physical training, 50% mental training.
Group 4: did 25% physical training, 75% mental training.
What the researchers found was that group 4 – the group with the most mental training – had shown significantly greater improvement than group 3.
Likewise, group 3 showed more improvement than group 2, and group 2 showed more improvement than group 1.
The results were astonishing. Who would expect that athletes training mentally would be able to advance further than their counterparts who were training physically?
Garfield said, “During mental rehearsal, athletes create mental images of the exact movements they want to emulate in their sport. Use of this skill substantially increases the effectiveness of goal-setting, which up until then had been little more than a dull listing procedure.”
If mental exercises and visualization could have such a profound impact on athletes, what kind of impact could it have on you?
Can you use the same principle to improve your attitudes, confidence and skills? Could it impact your learning ability; your golf swing; your ability to shed weight and stick to a diet?