In an recent article about NLP in sport, I talked about the incredible power of visualisation. To recap briefly the main principle – your body will follow the last clear set of instructions your mind has given it.
To give you an example of this that you can try out, you first need to find a pendulum (not the a large one like in a grandfather clock! ). If you can’t lay your hands on a pendulum, them get hold of a plumbline and put a thread through it. This is an amazing exercise I use regularly when I am running my NLP training in North London and it really can shock people!
Now, hold the chain or thread gently between your thumb and index finger, relax your arm and imagine drawing a circle with your hand holding the pendulum or plumbline. Don’t move your hand – just imagine drawing the circle in your mind.
Now for most people, what you will find is that as you imagine drawing the circle in your mind, the pendulum starts to move in a circle also. In case you are thinking it is due to random movement in your arms, now imagine drawing the circle the other direction and be surprised when the pendulum starts moving in the other direction!
Let me reassure you, it is not some spirit moving the pendulum! Through imagining drawing the circle in your mind, you are sending communication through your neural pathways to your muscles in your arm you are imagining using to draw the circle. You cannot see your arm moving, however the micro-muscle movements (a great bit of jargon that basically means tiny movements in the muscle!) are amplified by means of the pendulum and you therefore see the pendulum moving in a circle.
The same thing would happen if you imagine doing any behaviour. For example, if you imagine doing a high jump perfectly and run through in your mind what you would hear, see and feel whilst you do it, you will actually be stimulating the neural pathways and muscles involved in the activity.
Just in case you are thinking ‘hey does that mean I don’t need to go to the gym any more?!’, I’m afraid its not going to build muscle of make you lose weight simply by your imagination, however it will make performing the activity easier the next time you do it – because you’re going to train your neurology in the movement.
I often coach athletes using NLP in sport and also hypnotherapy to help enhance performance and take athletes through powerful visualisation techniques to help them improve their performance and they achieve outstanding results.
The key is really that you need to imagine doing perfect performance. If you run through in your mind incorrect technique, then you’ll basically be perfecting the neural pathways for incorrect performance. There’s an old myth – ‘practice makes perfect’. It should really be written – perfect practice makes perfect!
So the tip for this article is don’t just do physical practice, make sure you regularly do mental practice. Visualise how you want your performance to be and keep doing it until you get it just right! It doesn’t matter whether it is in sport, public speaking or even improving your social techniques, this is going to help you.
If you want to know some of the most powerful methods for doing this rehearsal, learn some NLP or hypnotherapy – we run regular trainings at a very competitive rate to keep it accessible to everyone.