Observation as an alternative to imagery – II

In my last article (click to view) I suggested that observation could be used as an alternative to imagery. What I mean by the term observation is simply to video record the athlete in the situations that you would be asking them to imagine.  Other authors on this site have made reference to the PETTLEP model of imagery, which identifies the 7 key elements that need to be included during an imagery session, in order to make it most effective. So lets look through each of these elements and see how using a video recording of the performer could be used as an alternative to imagery, in the event that the athlete cannot image, or cannot satisfy the 7 key elements suggested by the PETTLEP model.

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There are multiple uses for observation or videoing techniques as an alternative for imagery.

Improve confidence – replaying the athlete performing skills successfully can increase the confidence they have for executing a particular skill.  This can be useful in times when the athlete has made a few mistakes e.g. a golfer hooking his drive causing him to keep doing this.  Showing him the replays of him performing the drive successfully then he can regain the confidence in himself.

Improve technique – sometimes the athlete is aware that they are making mistakes but is not sure what is causing them to do so.  Again using the golfer hooking his/her drives as an example, if he is recorded taking the drive, his swing can easily be compared to previous attempts and he/she can identify the change in their technique and the cause of the hook.

Motivation – capturing the athlete or team in their most inspiring moments and adding these to music can assist the athlete in getting motivated for a particular performance.

Pre –performance routine – A video could be used to increase the arousal levels of the athlete or to prepare them for what lies ahead.  For the golfer it could be  a recording of each hole where they can start to think about the types of shots they might like to play or a recording of them actually playing the holes successfully so that they can more easily repeat this performance in the next round.

Whatever you use this technique for remember to keep it positive.  A positive capturing of the athletes skills and abilities will ultimately be good for performance.  Good luck.

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