Visualization techniques embraced by athletes

25 Feb

An article in The New York Times tells us that:

“INCREASING numbers of athletes are turning to a sports psychology training technique known as visualization to sharpen their competitive edge. The technique involves mentally rehearsing for a competition, playing ”movies” in the mind over and over of a superb past performance or the ideal performance.”

Here is an interesting paper, from 2001, suggesting that visualization might be helpful in geriatric rehabilitation. This is the abstract:

“The challenge of geriatric rehabilitation continues to grow with decreasing Medicare reimbursement and societal access to therapy. Occupational and physical therapists must be proactive in developing strategies that optimize therapy outcomes for patients. Mental rehearsal is a complementary treatment technique that should be considered for facilitation of motor skill acquisition. This technique has been used extensively in sport, music, and dance performance. While it is not a viable substitute for physical practice, it most certainly can be helpful in motor learning enhancement. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of mental rehearsal: describe mental rehearsal, review the available research on the topic, consider possible mechanisms of action, and suggest its application to the geriatric patient population.”

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