How to Learn a Skill Faster: Visualization
Visualization is one of the most powerful things an athlete can do to learn a skills faster. The reason for this is we don’t know the different between when we visualize something and when we actually do it. The same neurons fire in the same way they would when we visualize compared to when we physically do something. This means that we can use visualization to speed up the time it takes to learn a skill, because it allows us to do more repetitions than we might otherwise be able to physically do. For example, if you are wanting to learn a jump shot. If you go out and practice it 50 times on the court, and then you go home and visualize it another 100 times, you have practiced it 150 times. It doesn’t matter that some were physically done and some through visualization. To you it is all the same. Think about that for a moment. If you visualize for just 5mins a night think about how many more repetitions you can get in? If you add that up over a week, month and year, a few years down the road it will have added up to a ton more repetitions.
Another benefit to visualization is that it allows us to see the skill in the ideal form. This then creates sort of a blueprint for how you want to be able to perform the skill. This is important because this blueprint will then be used in a moment to help execute the skill. The stronger we make the blueprint the easier it is to execute the skill in the manner we want.
Every athlete wants to be able to develop a certain skill set, this doesn’t just have to be physical it can also be mental. There are only so many times we can practice it, due to physical limitations or not having the situations come along very often that we need to fully practice it. Sometimes we can’t even fully practice something before we have to do it. So you can also use visualization to practice something prior to needing to do it, that will allow you to more effectively perform it in the moment.