Wednesday, 6 March 2013


I saw a photo of Ross Clarke-Jones earlier today and it reminded me of Visualisation.  Several years ago I heard RCJ say he used visualisation before winning The Eddie and I was intrigued because a) I had used similar techniques; and b) I didn't know it had a name!

When I was about 14 or 15 I started practicing my transitions for triathlon.  I'd lay out my riding and running stuff and pretend to come in from the swim, change into my bike stuff, then pretend to come in from the bike and change into my running stuff.  That chain of short, simple tasks is something that is easy to get faster at with physical practice.  If I was bored and not near my equipment I would play out the transition in my head and imagine each of the steps in great detail.  Often with such detail that I would imagine the temperature, noise and atmosphere around me.

Given my complete lack of any psychological evidence I can't tell you why this works but it made me so much faster in transition.  I still go through the process of transition in my head after I've set up my bike before a race.  In fact on race morning I play out the whole day in my head.  I've become better at it over the years, including visualising the run out of the water, into transition and then out onto the bike and run legs.  I don't think this could ever replace doing the task physically but it certainly seems to compliment the physical work.'ve also used this in trading, to a lesser extent.  While there's no physical task required, there is a lot of emotion and running through different scenarios in your head can help keep fear and greed in check.  It certainly helps having a vivid imagination but it's a fine line between visualising and dreaming.  Thinking about an end result wont change anything.  Thinking through entire processes and putting yourself in that position is what seems to strengthen neural pathways. I guess it's just a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy...

Give it a try.  Think about something you're learning to do or trying to get faster/ better at.  Zone out and imagine yourself in that position.  Try to imagine everything around you in as much detail as you can and then act out the process in your head.  Go through all 5 physical senses and then imagine what you're feeling and thinking at this point.  If you want to change what you are feeling or thinking during the task then just change it.

This is a chose your own adventure book and the more you visualise the way you want to handle this situation, the less foreign it will be when the time comes to actually perform it. 

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