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VISUALIZATION: how to feel success even when it isn't there!

Visualization is a tool that many great athletes use to help themselves feel and experience success without ever actually stepping foot onto the field. Simply visualizing ourselves doing something great can put ourselves in a favorable, positive state of mind and help clear out any of those negative "what-if" situations that so often pop into our head when preparing for competition.

It's so natural to second guess ourselves as athletes. We've seen many athletes over the years go into their seasons as prepared as they've ever been, and just weeks later they are shaken and uncertain about their abilities because of a few bad plays or at-bats. Suddenly, they can't remember what it feels like to 'feel good' and their confidence fluctuates with each pitch or at-bat. There are many ways to help our athletes get through these ups and downs, but one very underutilized mental training tool we forget to use as athletes is visualization.

When success seems so far off, we have to help them remember what it feels like to feel good. Having them stop, close their eyes, and picture a time when they had success (down to the exact details of the moment - the weather, the sounds, the surrounding sights) can put their brain and body in a state of positive emotion when recalling these scenarios. You can also have your hitter imagine what they want to happen.

Often times, our confidence as hitters (and athletes) is dictated by the previous at bat or play. Why then, would we not consciously CHOOSE which last at-bat or play we want to be replaying in our head before we go up to bat again? Why not choose the solid contact line drive, or double in the gap, to have our brain remember as our most recent outcome?

Visualization can put those positive, happy moments back in the forefront of our thinking - especially when we're struggling or in slumps. It doesn't have to be fancy or take 15 minutes, even a quick 2 minute pre-game visualization session can make all the difference to get your athletes feeling the confidence they feel when they are looking and playing their best. This is also a great tool to equip your hitters with on the on-deck circle, just a 15 second walk through of them imagining themselves at their peak performance can set the stage for a successful at bat!

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