How to Use Visualization to Improve Consistency

Visualization in Gymnastics

How to Improve Your Consistency in Gymnastics

What separates elite gymnasts from non-elite gymnasts?

Elite gymnasts are able to perform their routines with consistency. There are not huge fluctuations from meet to meet with top-level gymnasts.

The next question would be:

How do you increase your consistency when performing your routines?

Well, the one mental skill that has the biggest impact on consistency is confidence. Confidence is gained through thorough preparation. The more repetitions you perform in your training sessions, the more prepared and confident you feel during competitions.

To sum up the consistency cycle… Increased repetitions amounts to greater preparation, better preparation leads to a higher level of confidence, and high confidence results in consistent performances in meets.

One little gymnast I know has only limited time during training sessions.

When it is her turn to practice her routine, she performs it pretty well, just a slight bobble or two. Something changes for her come competition time…

She becomes anxiety-ridden and doesn’t feel confident she can nail her routine when all eyes are on her. Sometimes, she can work through her nerves and score well but, more often than not, her scores are all over the place.

If only she could get in more training to run through her routines so she didn’t have to think herself through her routine.

How can you get more reps with limited time in the gym?

Elite gymnasts turn to visualization for more reps.

Visualizing a rep is perceived quite the same way as performing your routine physically.

The Benefits of Visualization are Three-Fold:

  1. More repetitions and preparation.
  2. Increased confidence.
  3. The integration of body and mind to fully ingrain the routine into your whole being.

Visualization is the secret weapon for the Temple University women’s gymnastics team.

Last year Temple finished their season with the highest ECAC Championship score in program history.

Despite a strong 2016 campaign, Temple head coach Umme Salim-Beasley felt the team showed a lot of inconsistency that held the Owls back from reaching their full scoring potential.

Salim-Beasley set out to improve the team’s consistency by increasing the amount of repetitions in practice and adding visualization of routines to the team’s training regimen.

SALIM-BEASLEY: “We’ve done a lot in terms of mental preparation and visualization. We’ve been working with a sports psychologist to get them in a better mental place so that they are confident in what they are doing. I think that building confidence is something we are keying into to be able to have them ready for competition.”

Imagine hitting your vaults with consistency. Or nailing your floor routine over and over… Or stepping up confidently to the uneven bars because you know you have run through your routine countless times in your head.

If you want to improve your gymnastics without adding more practice time, get started with a daily visualization regimen!

When I studied at Cal State Fullerton in the mid 80s under Ken Ravizza, we examined the use of visualization with the CSUF gymnastics teams. We found that the better gymnasts visualized their routine in real time.

This means they took the same amount of time to visualize their routines as they did to complete their routines in competition.

Try these Tips for Starting your Own Visualization Program:

  1. Start small – Visualize only one part of your routine (for example your dismount) to start. You can expand more into your routine as you feel more comfortable.
  2. Take 5 – Take five minutes each day to visualize so you are not overwhelmed with adding a whole lot of time to your already busy schedule. Again, you can add more time as you further develop the skill.
  3. Picture success – See yourself performing the skill successfully. If you see yourself messing up, take a few deep breaths and start again.

If you visualize daily, you will be well on your way to performing consistently in meets!

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Learn Mental Game Secrets to Unstoppable Confidence in Gymnastics!

Are you ready to improve your mental toughness and perform with ultimate self-confidence in competition?

Check out The Confident Gymnast Program!

The Confident Gymnast Workbook Program was developed not only by Dr. Cohn, but with the assistance of former gymnast Olympian Wendy Bruce.

The Confident Gymnast is ideal for any competitive gymnast. But not only do gymnasts benefit from the program, coaches and parents do as well!

  • Gymnasts: Get the mental edge by learning how to take control of their confidence, mentally prepare for competition, and preform with composure under pressure
  • Parents: Help boost your athletes’ performance. Don’t let their mind hold them back any longer!
  • Coaches: Boost your gymnasts’ confidence using simple, proven mental strategies.
  • Mental Coaches: Learn a proven system for helping your athletes boost mental toughness.

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