The Winter Olympics start this week. I encourage you to pay attention to interviews with athletes and to any footage of them preparing for their events. What you will hear is athlete after athlete talk about mental preparation and ‘imagery’ as a key part of that preparation. They will talk about visualization, imagery, guided imagery, guided meditation, seeing the event in their mind, picturing themselves performing prior to the event and running through the event in the mind prior to competing. What you will see is downhill skiers, bobsledders, luge and skeleton athletes, figure skaters and others standing well off to the side prior to their event with their eyes closed while they make run after run, or complete their jumps and routines in their mind. What you will not see is almost all the athletes sitting quietly in their rooms, or somewhere in Athlete’s Village, or in a quiet corner somewhere at their venue using imagery to enhance their performance. These athletes have spent thousands of hours over their competitive careers dedicated to the mental side of their sport.
Having worked as a mental preparation coach for two Olympic athletes (boxing and biathlon) as well as athletes from hockey, bull riding, triathlon, boxing, skeleton, biathlon, competitive shooting and figure skating I can tell you that imagery is a huge part of the total preparation for all elite athletes and elite performers in all fields.
Imagery has been a huge part of elite athletics for years. So, why are we so resistant to making it a formal part of all law enforcement training? We talk about the importance of mental toughness, crisis rehearsal and mental preparation yet still only pay lip service to it in most law enforcement training programs.
For the past 15 years I have done imagery sessions with thousands of law enforcement professionals from recruits to SWAT officers to enhance their shooting, their performance on tests, driving skills, responding to direct contamination with OC, public speaking skills (including court testimony), their performance in dynamic encounters, dealing with injury and their performance during promotional interviews. I have also taught law enforcement trainers from across North America how imagery works and how to incorporate it most effectively into their training. Trainers and officers who have embraced and incorporated imagery have experienced tremendous success in all these areas. Others like Dr. Mike Asken in Pennsylvania have experienced similar results to the use of imagery. So, why are we still so resistant to incorporating imagery into law enforcement training?
Imagery is a simple yet effective process that focuses and directs the imagination. I refer to it as Performance Enhancement Imagery as the goal is to enhance performance in some area. Numerous scientific studies show the effectiveness of imagery as a tool to enhance human performance. Imagery can be done for yourself or as a guided exercise in a group or one on one. Imagery sessions can be as short as 30 seconds and as long as 90 minutes so it is easy to build into both new and existing programs. Imagery will enhance the competence, confidence and performance of your officers. So, why are we still so resistant to incorporating imagery into law enforcement training?
I would encourage you to find out what imagery is, how it works, how it can help your officers and how it can enhance your training.
Performance Enhancement Imagery is covered in depth during our Excellence in Training Courses. We also offer stand alone courses in Performance Enhancement Imagery. Check out our website at www.winningmindtraining.com for a list of upcoming courses or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Brian Willis – A Man With Many Questions
At Winning Mind Training we are driven by our dedication to inspiring the pursuit of personal excellence and our belief that every law enforcement officer deserves to experience awesome training.