When you use the mental aspect of practice it makes practice easier and better. You improve your results by embracing mistakes. Mental Practice also helps you use your brain to make your skill acquisition easier.
Think In Images
Which of the following instructions is easier to remember?
- Take the tennis racquet back in a straight horizontal line.
- Take a tennis racquet back as if you were sweeping dishes off a coffee table.
- Trap the soccer ball gently.
- Let the ball kiss your foot.
The images are far easier to grasp, recall, and perform. This is because your brain spent millions of years evolving to register images more vividly and memorably than abstract ideas. Whenever possible, create a vivid image to each chunk you want to learn. The images don’t have to be elaborate, just easy to see and feel.
Most of us avoid mistakes – we hate them. When we make one, our every instinct urges us to look away, ignore, and pretend it didn’t happen. This is not good, because mistakes are our guideposts to improvement. Brain scan studies reveal a vital instant, 0.25 seconds after a mistake is made, in which people do one of two things – they look hard at the mistake or they ignore it. People who pay deeper attention to an error learn significantly more than those who ignore it.