Guidelines for Using Imagery to Enhance Performance
Gould and Damarjian (1996) indicate that imagery requires extensive practice similar to physical skills. An athlete cannot expect performance to be enhanced by using imagery just prior to competition and not practicing it otherwise. To enhance imagery, visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic senses need to be utilized; in particular, dynamic kinesthetic imagery, which is the internal experience of movement, needs to be emphasized. The athlete should learn to control the content of the images as well as to take both the internal and external perspectives and to use real time images. Imagery can be facilitated by being in a relaxed state which can be attained by the use of video or audiotapes. If the athlete is experiencing a particular physical skills problem, imagery can be used to imagine the problem area and to develop methods in overcoming it. Common problems in imagery training include having unrealistic expectations, lack of commitment to practice, and lack of coach support (Weinberg, 1996).