Visualization is a technique used by many athletes to enhance their performance during practice or competition.
Professional golfers often stand behind the ball before approach and visualize their swing, the club contacting the ball and the flight of the ball after contact.
When Victor hits baseballs off a tee in the yard we talk about approaching each swing as if it was a game situation. Using the same pre-swing routine then stepping back and visualizing the ball hitting the bat and the flight of the ball toward right center field.
Every time the same until it becomes belief or habit.
The key message of visualization, according to sports psychologist Matt Neason is “What happens out there is a result of what happens in here.” This means your performance is often a direct result of what happens inside your head.
Last night we went to Friday night Shabbat services to celebrate the upcoming Bar Mitzvah of our friends’ son Ben. Let me preface this by saying I am not particularly religious. I enjoy going to services mostly to think and to reflect in silence. I don’t often recite the prayers or sing the songs. My experience typically takes place inside my own head.
During a moment of silent prayer for the congregation I closed my eyes and lost myself in the moment and this visualization appeared in my mind: A twenty or thirty something year old Ava Rose Coustan in her wedding dress walking down the aisle with ME. We were all there. Helene and Victor too. But the image of Ava as an older, mature young woman was so vivid and so clear it freaked me out. She will be a beautiful young woman and a beautiful bride by the way.
If I could visualize this moment does that mean I will survive long enough to be there? Is my health related performance directly related to what’s inside my head? I often talk about milestones and living from one milestone to the next. Obviously Ava’s wedding is a long time away (I can only hope – she is only 10 years old) but it’s a milestone to strive for. And I visualized it so clearly that it can only mean I will be there for it.
I am banking on that.
Rabbi S – I guess we need to spend more Friday nights together?