Workout Tips

The Mind-Muscle Connection

Don't underestimate the power of your mind to grow your muscles.

The Mind-Muscle Connection

2. The Performance Statement
"I have athletes tell me their top three tasks in terms of competition. Let's say it's a pitcher. He might be asked to hit, field and pitch. Once I've identified the top three tasks, I want him to identify the No. 1 task. For a pitcher it's obviously pitching, so I have him identify the top three things he needs to think about before he throws each pitch. It may be, What pitch am I going to pitch and where? Then he's going to think, Weight back, arm on top. This way he knows no only where he's trying to put the ball but also that he's in a position to keep it down in the strike zone. The performance statement is important because that's what we try to focus on. In the gym it can translate into targeting a specific bodypart, whether it's your core, chest or biceps."

3. The Personal Highlight Reel
"This is an advanced form of visualization of three one-minute clips. For the first one I have athletes come up with specific instances of past success, where they did a nice job of emphasizing the performance statement we talked about. For the next 60 seconds we focus on an elevated-pressure game, a playoff-caliber game. I ask them to picture themselves in 3-5 different highlights, pitching well by emphasizing the elements of their performance statement. Then the third part of the reel is a clip where they imagine the next day's game or practice, again focusing on the performance statement."

4. The Identity Statement
"This is centered on two elements: The athlete's No. 1 strength and one of his ultimate goals. It might be something like, I'm a strong and confident pitcher and I'm a hall-of-fame-caliber player. It's really something he has strength in and is trying to accomplish. It emphasizes developing the self-image."

5. The Centering Breath
"I have them finish with another centering breath because as they go through the visualization, their heart rates may become elevated. So we want to control that heart rate again before we go out and take the field or enter the gym."

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