The High Performance
Coach continues his series on how visualisation can improve your game
Studies have shown that our brains cannot tell the difference between an
actual, physical event and the vivid visualisation of that same event.
When we experience something and when we visualise the same thing, we
activate similar brain circuits. Learning to visualise effectively
creates powerful habits that can be transferred into performance.
Visualisation is like a form of meditation. Where it differs is that
meditation is about being aware and paying attention to thoughts,
feelings and sounds. Visualisation is a more active practice, bringing
in images, scenarios and situations.
Effective visualisation has been compared to watching a movie in high
definition on a massive screen. Everything should be vivid with a lot of
attention to detail including noise, smells and emotions. Even
visualising your muscles being activated is recommended when performing
a task or skill.
During healthy periods, we strengthen ourselves and our bodies so that
during the difficult times we can depend on it. Itís our armour plating.
It doesnít make us invincible, but it helps prepare us for when fortune
shifts (and it always does!). The same is true of our minds. The brain
is a live tissue that can be built up and toned through the right
Nick Matthew was known to use the tool of visualisation throughout his
career and his results and mental toughens perhaps owed something to
A very good practice to start your journey to better squash performance
through visualisation would be to bring to mind one of your best ever
performances. Take time to really pinpoint what made this match stand
Once you have done this, go through all the details of it; the arrival
at the venue, the warm-up, the court you played on, the way the match
went, your emotions and how it felt to play so well. The associations
your brain makes with this powerful visualisation will, in time, have
positive effects on your on-court performance.