MASTER ANY SKILLS OR TECHNIQUES

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opert56
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Muscle Memory: the Secrets of Mental Imagery.
You're sitting in deep, soft powder high in the French Alps. You're alone. The sky is blue, the air is cold and clean; you breathe in deeply, and it's absolutely silent. You can feel the texture of the perfect snow all around you. As you stand to take one last look down before you start, you feel your heart start to pound and the rush of adrenaline.
Only you’re not in the Alps. You’re in your living room. You’re alone. It’s absolutely silent. And you’re using the most powerful sports training technique that no one talks about. It’s what gives the world’s greatest athletes their winning edge. It’s easy. It’s free. It doesn’t care about your age, gender, ability or sport. And it can make you pull a 900 in the halfpipe without eating sh*t, drop in from the peak of the world’s tallest mountain with confidence and poise, and slide deep within the guts of a Teahupoo beast as if you were Laird Hamilton himself.
Some call it visualisation. “Or, more correctly, Mental Imagery,” says Geoff Lovell, action sports specialist and psychologist at the University of Gloucestershire. “You're actually doing more than just seeing. If you’re successful, you'll have smelt, heard and felt. Furthermore, you will have had some very important and strong emotions. MI is so much more than just pretending.”
Visualisation is a powerful preparation tool that can help you perfect tricks and master skills without taking trips to the airport, the equipment shop or the hospital. “When we mentally imagine a skill in our mind's eye, for example a big twisting jump on a snowboard, our brains go through exactly the same cognitive processes as when we actually do the skill,” explains Lovell. “Except the 'volume' of the nervous impulses sent down the spinal cord to the muscles are turned down.” Experts call it 'functional equivalence’, small nervous impulses that leak out to our muscles during MI, causing tiny muscular reactions. These ping your brain the same messages as if you were doing the trick for real.
How to Implement Mental Imagery
There is no correct way to practice mental imagery. It is all left up to individual preferences and the present circumstances. It can be done on or off the field, very short (within a few seconds or minutes), of a long duration, sitting up, lying down, in complete silence, with a stereo, eyes closed or they can be open. A shorter version of imagery is best implemented during matchplay. For example, a tennis player may take a few seconds to visualize him or herself hitting the perfect serve in the place where he or she wants. Or a quarterback can go through a play in his mind just before calling the play. Longer, specific guided visualizations are usually designed for a quiet room prior to competition. In this case, the player should be in a relaxed and receptive state in order for the image to go deeply into the mind. It is recommended to do visualization two or three times per week. Another way that many athletes practice imagery is during bike rides, lifting weights, rowing, etc. Since one is exerting physical energy while doing mental rehearsal, it helps facilitate actual competition. Some individuals are better at forming pictures in their heads than others
Here are some general principles to enhance imagery:

· Make the imagery seem as realistic as possible by including all senses, in full color and detail, within a similar emotional context
· Practice imagery regularly as it may take months before seeing improvement
· Believe that imagery works, as your attitudes and expectations enhance the effect
· Keep a focused yet relaxed attention while using imagery
· Internal imagery is most effective. Picture yourself actually accomplishing the feat (from your minds eye), rather than viewing yourself from the outside looking in.
· Only imagine perfection. This will boost your self-confidence and reinforce good habits.
In closing, imagery is a potent mental technique that will raise the level of your game if your basic skills and understanding of tennis are solid. Just don't let your opponent know what you're thinking!
Creative visualization is the technique of using one's imagination to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in one's life. Advocates suggest creating a detailed schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again with all of the senses (i.e., what do you see? what do you feel? what do you hear? what does it smell like?). For example, in sports a golfer may visualize the "perfect" stroke over and over again to mentally train muscle memory.
In one of the most well-known studies on Creative Visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their training schedules:
§ Group 1 = 100% physical training;
§ Group 2 - 75% physical training with 25% mental training;
§ Group 3 - 50% physical training with 50% mental training;
§ Group 4 - 25% physical training with 75% mental training.
Group 4, with 75% of their time devoted to mental training, performed the best. "The Soviets had discovered that mental images can act as a prelude to muscular impulses."

opert56
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opert56 wrote:Muscle Memory: the Secrets of Mental Imagery.
You're sitting in deep, soft powder high in the French Alps. You're alone. The sky is blue, the air is cold and clean; you breathe in deeply, and it's absolutely silent. You can feel the texture of the perfect snow all around you. As you stand to take one last look down before you start, you feel your heart start to pound and the rush of adrenaline.
Only you’re not in the Alps. You’re in your living room. You’re alone. It’s absolutely silent. And you’re using the most powerful sports training technique that no one talks about. It’s what gives the world’s greatest athletes their winning edge. It’s easy. It’s free. It doesn’t care about your age, gender, ability or sport. And it can make you pull a 900 in the halfpipe without eating sh*t, drop in from the peak of the world’s tallest mountain with confidence and poise, and slide deep within the guts of a Teahupoo beast as if you were Laird Hamilton himself.
Some call it visualisation. “Or, more correctly, Mental Imagery,” says Geoff Lovell, action sports specialist and psychologist at the University of Gloucestershire. “You're actually doing more than just seeing. If you’re successful, you'll have smelt, heard and felt. Furthermore, you will have had some very important and strong emotions. MI is so much more than just pretending.”
Visualisation is a powerful preparation tool that can help you perfect tricks and master skills without taking trips to the airport, the equipment shop or the hospital. “When we mentally imagine a skill in our mind's eye, for example a big twisting jump on a snowboard, our brains go through exactly the same cognitive processes as when we actually do the skill,” explains Lovell. “Except the 'volume' of the nervous impulses sent down the spinal cord to the muscles are turned down.” Experts call it 'functional equivalence’, small nervous impulses that leak out to our muscles during MI, causing tiny muscular reactions. These ping your brain the same messages as if you were doing the trick for real.
How to Implement Mental Imagery
There is no correct way to practice mental imagery. It is all left up to individual preferences and the present circumstances. It can be done on or off the field, very short (within a few seconds or minutes), of a long duration, sitting up, lying down, in complete silence, with a stereo, eyes closed or they can be open. A shorter version of imagery is best implemented during matchplay. For example, a tennis player may take a few seconds to visualize him or herself hitting the perfect serve in the place where he or she wants. Or a quarterback can go through a play in his mind just before calling the play. Longer, specific guided visualizations are usually designed for a quiet room prior to competition. In this case, the player should be in a relaxed and receptive state in order for the image to go deeply into the mind. It is recommended to do visualization two or three times per week. Another way that many athletes practice imagery is during bike rides, lifting weights, rowing, etc. Since one is exerting physical energy while doing mental rehearsal, it helps facilitate actual competition. Some individuals are better at forming pictures in their heads than others
Here are some general principles to enhance imagery:

· Make the imagery seem as realistic as possible by including all senses, in full color and detail, within a similar emotional context
· Practice imagery regularly as it may take months before seeing improvement
· Believe that imagery works, as your attitudes and expectations enhance the effect
· Keep a focused yet relaxed attention while using imagery
· Internal imagery is most effective. Picture yourself actually accomplishing the feat (from your minds eye), rather than viewing yourself from the outside looking in.
· Only imagine perfection. This will boost your self-confidence and reinforce good habits.
In closing, imagery is a potent mental technique that will raise the level of your game if your basic skills and understanding of tennis are solid. Just don't let your opponent know what you're thinking!
Creative visualization is the technique of using one's imagination to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in one's life. Advocates suggest creating a detailed schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again with all of the senses (i.e., what do you see? what do you feel? what do you hear? what does it smell like?). For example, in sports a golfer may visualize the "perfect" stroke over and over again to mentally train muscle memory.
In one of the most well-known studies on Creative Visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their training schedules:
§ Group 1 = 100% physical training;
§ Group 2 - 75% physical training with 25% mental training;
§ Group 3 - 50% physical training with 50% mental training;
§ Group 4 - 25% physical training with 75% mental training.
Group 4, with 75% of their time devoted to mental training, performed the best. "The Soviets had discovered that mental images can act as a prelude to muscular impulses."
Here is a great example how affect visualization can be and can be done only a second:

Let's say 2 guys are learning how to kick the ball properly from a Pro. One guy just watches his instructor how to he kicks and he just does it and he's getting mad because he still doesn't get it, while the other guy watch he's teacher's moment of his leg and think and picture in his mind that he's doing the exact position for a second, and he kicks and does it properly but still needs some practice.

If you actually think about it, you actually meet guys who wants to master the techniques but doesn't think and just does it. But this way, it will take more time and more practices, however when you actually visualize yourself doing this trick for a second or so, you can master it quickly, NO MATTER HOW HARD THE TRICK IS OR THE SKILL YOU ARE TRYING TO GET. REPLAY IN YOUR HEAD IN SLOW MOTION AND GET A CLEAR IMAGE OF ALL THE SENSES! IT'S THAT EASY!!!!!
However, some people will not get the exact clear picture.... This will take practice, however you get a very FASTER RESULT!

Icy
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I don't want to play down how beneficial mental imagery can be in improving your game but I feel an important part is left out.

You must first know what the "perfect" skills feels like that you're trying to achieve even feels like in order to imagine it. In order to do this you must be training your skills in the first place, and more important have done it enough to know what the perfect strike, touch, etc feels like. Sure, I can just imagine hitting the ball at 200mph but it doesn't mean anything if I am picturing myself hitting it with my toe.

A way I like to go about doing this is every once in a while during a shooting practice I will only bring one ball. After each shot during the drill when I go to get the ball I am visualizing my shot quickly and then focusing on what I could have done to improve it. This is possible because I feel like I've hit the "perfect" shot a few times.

While the shot wasn't "perfect" the shots would definitely challenge good professional shots. Once I am able to hit these so called perfect shots I will then, through examining my technique, be able to find holes in that to reach a new level of shots that I'll consider perfect. Really it's a never ending process.

So, to reiterate what I've said you must also be practicing in order to really imagine what it feels like to hit the perfect shot or get a perfect touch. No amount of pure imagery will get you to this point and you must spend vast amounts of time doing this to also improve muscle memory and even the endurance in your body to handle the demands in a game.
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

opert56
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Joined: 22 May 2007, 01:10

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I don't think you read what I posted....... Visualization takes do not take efforts of hard achievement, it takes focus and concentration in your mind with deep breathing, almost like meditation.
You must have all senses, it is really easy for me, but for some will have a hard time because they are not mentally develop.......
You don't really have to feel all the senses, but you do have to be mentally develop, to improve your mentality, play some brain games or read books and focus and aware of things your doing....

opert56
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You can also use your mind to build muscles.

Scientists were recently shocked to discover that untrained muscle groups can actually increase in strength automactically, without any training, if other key muscle groups in the body are specifically targeted. What this means is that the nervous system plays more of a key role in muscle development than first thought. By knowing "how" to harness the magical ability of the nervous system you can automatically improve muscle strength in untrained muscles and you can achieve results in weeks that would normally take years.

This means your muscles can grow and develop through mental simulation training alone. During a recent experiment a weight lifter "imagined" training his right arm to lift a record weight of dumbbell. He performed no physcial weight training during the test period. When his right arm muscles were measured for muscle growth a few months later and they had actually grown in size despite no physical training.

Icy
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Mental imagery is done however it works for the said person. No one person is the same and by saying that it takes focus and concentration along with deep breating is partially a lie. You need to be focused in what you're visualizing but it's not something you need to go into a mediatative type state to achieve.

The mental imagery is used to implant and thought, or in this case an action into your subconcious mind. This can be done with practice and this can also be done through imagery. The mental imagery is used in the way to "trick" your mind into beliveing it can do something it, in a way cannot at the moment. To clarify this, any limitation you have is a result of your mind, not your body.

Once subconciously your mind belives you can do it when you actually try to replicate the move in real life you're much more relaxed than if you were to just go out there and try it. Can't you remember how tense you were when you first learned to shoot with your instep? Aren't you quite relaxed now with it, or atleast in comparison?

The visualiazation is merely a method to get your subconcious mind to accept that something is not impossible. We (as humans) tend to instantly think we can't do things that look hard, or require "perfection" which just makes us more tense and less likely to do it when we try. Once our mind believes it, it's merely just replicating it phyiscally.

Sorry if this post is kind of a mess, typed it up without much "organization", but I feel it gets my point accross.
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

pickyourheadup
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Opert56, you already posted a thread on exactly the same subject. You can find it Here. This is still good information, however.

Icy
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Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 19:47

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opert56 wrote:You can also use your mind to build muscles.

Scientists were recently shocked to discover that untrained muscle groups can actually increase in strength automactically, without any training, if other key muscle groups in the body are specifically targeted. What this means is that the nervous system plays more of a key role in muscle development than first thought. By knowing "how" to harness the magical ability of the nervous system you can automatically improve muscle strength in untrained muscles and you can achieve results in weeks that would normally take years.

This means your muscles can grow and develop through mental simulation training alone. During a recent experiment a weight lifter "imagined" training his right arm to lift a record weight of dumbbell. He performed no physcial weight training during the test period. When his right arm muscles were measured for muscle growth a few months later and they had actually grown in size despite no physical training.
First and foremost every one of us can potentially lift a lot more than anyone of us are currently lifting. The mind though limits us due to the fact that trying to do some of those weights pose a very high chance of tearing tendons\ligaments.

Since we all posess this capability to lift more than what we currently are it's not hard to believe that mental imagery can help as achieve it. Like I said, the real goal of mental imagery is to subconciously make your mind believe that it can do something that you're currently not doing. Your mind is your limit and if you can make it think otherwise than your well on your way to advancing.

Secondly, an increase in size does not mean an increase in strength. Compared to my days of bodybuilding, before soccer, I am much smaller than then, but I am also much stronger. In our heads we have the idea that size = strength and it doesn't in the least bit. Ever consider the increase in size could be due to fat since the person was not exercising?
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

pickyourheadup
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Icy, could you define what you mean by "strength". What are some examples of how an increase in size of the muscle does not equal an increase in strength?

I also would like to argue that your phrase "an increase in size" is misleading. An increase in size does lead to an increase in strength (unless you are using different definitions of strength).

An example:
If I am this:
Image

and I go to this:
Image

Am I not stronger?
Perhaps you are trying to say an increase in fat does not equal strength.
It should be noted that someone like this:
Image

is not stronger than the person in the second picture.

Icy
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Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 19:47

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Icy, could you define what you mean by "strength". What are some examples of how an increase in size of the muscle does not equal an increase in strength?
The strength I am talking about is "absolute strength" which is usually what people are refering to when they are talking about strength. Here is the way I will use it:

Absolute strength: The amount of weight one can lift for a 1 rep max (absolute strength can really be for a few reps but I'll leave it at this since it doesn't change the arguement)


I also would like to argue that your phrase "an increase in size" is misleading. An increase in size does lead to an increase in strength (unless you are using different definitions of strength).
An increase in size does not equate to a substantial increase in absolute strength. Perhaps that should have been how I phrased in initially but honestly anyone reading it should be able to atleast realize it was implied. Of course, if your in the gym busting your ass then you will get stronger, but in terms of how much stronger you can get (in absolute strength) is no where near the degree it would be if you're training for size and not strength.

And in terms of those pictures you have shown the extremes of both ends. Of course size to some degree matters but if you're judging strength of a person based on looks than you'll be very surprised. If you're training you will build muscle but size doesn't increase strength.

And yes, as you've helped prove my point, bodybuilders (picture 3) are generally bigger than strongman (picture 2) competitors (before cutting) but strongmen are usually stronger.

Look up myofibrial hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and you'll get a better understanding of this. It's like anaerobic and aerobic training in that doing one you get the benefits of the other. So, yes, you will gain muscle training for strength but more muscle is not what causes strength, it is the activation of more muscle fibers (and other things but lets leave it at that for now)
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

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