I hope you enjoyed Mr. Wallsbeck’s article on Swedish hockey players uses of imagery. It is always great to hear what professionals are doing in other countries to reaffirm our work in the US and to learn new and innovative ways of enhancing performance.
Mikael has a great deal of expertise in the area of imagery and has been working in hockey for some time. I know that any hockey player can benefit from the imagery techniques that he described.
What I learned from this article is that imagery needs to include very detailed, specific language to be most effective. Reread his quoted sections where he describes the kinds of images that are helpful. If you take this idea and create your own imagery script you will benefit from it. You should also seriously consider creating a Mp3 version of your imagery. Many athletes use Mp3’s prior to
competition to create the mindset, focus, and feelings of readiness and confidence to play their best.
The results that Swedish players use imagery for many different reasons supports what I know from working with American hockey players over the years. Imagery can build your confidence prior to the game, and even in the weeks leading up to the game. Therefore, imagery should be a training tool that serious hockey players are using consistently. In addition, it helps players feel ready. One of the greatest sources of confidence is a feeling that you have done everything you needed to and that you will perform well because of it. Imagery is great because it reminds you that you are ready and allows you to review the game plan in your mind to feel even more ready!!
Imagery is not an easy skill to learn or master by any means. We are easily distracted while imaging and some of us are not immediately good at imagery. So, if you are thinking of learning imagery to improve your hockey game, which I hope you are, then be patient. Know that you will need time to learn how to use imagery effectively.
There are two key things you need to work on while imaging. First, work on controlling the image. Be able to see, feel, etc what you want. Second, the images should be clear. So, images should not be distorted, fuzzy, or come in and out. These two things are key because the more lifelike the images the more you gain from it!