Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lance Armstrong - Imagery & The Alps

By Paige Dunn

After drying off from a very wet Tour de Suisse, Lance went right back to work in the Alps where he set off for a series of recon missions. There are many reasons to pre ride a course before an event, but from a mental perspective, one of the most powerful reasons is the ability to take away what he experiences during that recon and create a powerful imagery exercise that he can then utilize for the next few weeks leading up to the Tour de France to mentally rehearse his ideal performance. He will ultimately be more prepared, more confident and more focused by incorporating imagery exercises in to his training over the next few weeks.

Numerous studies have shown that when athletes use the power of their mind to actually see themselves perform their sport through mental rehearsals and imagery exercises, they can go on to achieve the images set forth in their minds. Using imagery, and the power of the mind to create successful athletic performances, can in fact help athletes achieve successful performances. And that’s exactly what Lance intends to do.

Incorporating imagery practice into your own cycling training can enhance your performance and may even help you achieve that which you deem impossible. That impossible climb that you thought you’d never be able to do? Well start using imagery and you’ll be surprised to see what just might happen one day. Considerable research supports the value of imagery practice and it has been shown to increase motivation, improve confidence, improve focus and can even help you learn new technique or skill.

Here’s how to get started – imagine your ideal sport performance and start writing down everything about that experience by creating an “imagery script”. See, hear and feel yourself riding exactly the way you want. Be as specific as possible. Write down every detail you can see, hear and feel. The more senses you can include, the more effective the imagery experience will be. For Lance’s imagery script to be the most effective, he might include details such as what it smelled like during certain points on the course, how the road underneath him sent vibrations through his body and maybe even what the wind felt like across his cheeks.

When you have finished writing down your imagery script, edit and revise it until you are satisfied that you have captured your ideal performance at your event. Then dictate it into a recording device and listen to your finished imagery script once a day leading up to a key event. Pick a quiet time and place where you won’t be disturbed. Some athletes choose to do their imagery every night before they go to bed or first thing in the morning.

Successful imagery requires motivation and commitment and needs to be practiced consistently. Schedule your imagery like you would any other thing in your life, such as a workout or training session, and before long it will become second nature. Imagine that.


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