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What You See Is How You Perform: Increase Your SUP, Surf, Dirt Bike or Any Sports Performance With Visualization Training

by Suzie Cooney, CPT
Suzie Trains Maui

See the finish line, the crowd cheering you on the last buoy turn, the last surf heat before the horn, the last lap of your mountain bike or dirt bike race and see your personal victory!  Okay, now adjust the speed and tempo, add a little more weight to the bar, do a few more balance tricks and turn up the music.

Visualizing your win, your finish or any goal you set out for your racing or training I guarantee will get you that trophy or medal or simply help you get to the next phase of your training and sport.  We watch the networks play over and over in slow motion,  two competitors going handle bar to handle bar on the dirt track, paddlers digging as deep and fast as they dig deep into last turn back to the beach,  or the Olympic speed skaters pushing off those last few  powerful  meters.

You can do the same during your training. If you’re a surfer and while you’re performing a weighted squat on your INDO Board, you see the green room and the spray of huge dragons breath; popping you out of that tube standing tall touching the back of that blue wall.  For example, when I’m on my spin bike, I close my eyes as the music carries me across the ocean on my Naish Glide at warp speed, catching every bump and trough possible, or better, turning on the face of a big wave.

Whatever your sport, your mental game and how you see yourself as an athlete makes a critical difference in how you perform.   Do you see yourself as an athlete? Are you looking to build your game and confidence?  I’m not a scientist, but what I do know is that the subconscious captures images of our desire outcomes and holds them and when an opportunity mimics the situation, it retrieves that image and allows our minds and body to shape and make that true.

I have the pleasure to introduce to you my training client, Stephen. Here is his awesome story on how his visualization training became an exciting reality, to a successful 27 mile stand up paddle race finish. The race was Saturday April 23rd, 2011. It started from Honolua Bay, Maui across the open ocean channel to the island of Molokai. Sport, stand up paddle, partner Mike Owens.  ( photos by Joshua Kjorven )

“ I would like to help contribute, it was one of those crazy ideas one gets while I was watching Connor and Dave battle it out in the Pailolo Channel on last year’s race. It was in November when I first watched the video of the battle where Connor ultimately won. Watching him paddle, getting that imprint of his paddle stroke, and ability to read the swell was captivating. I thought with a little practice “I could do that” and why not, what could possibly go wrong? I never think about the details (they usually become a barrier),I  just stay focused on the goal, and the details usually work themselves out in the end.

I set up our indoor pool to train and get in shape during the winter months, and then arrived in Maui to start training with you and Jeremy. Jeremy corrected my paddle stroke, and taught me to catch bumps on the four Maliko runs we did, plus several days in the harbor. Suzie helped me focus on my balance and strengthened the areas that I needed to improve upon, and it really helped. In reality was I ready for such a crossing and be a contender? No but my goal was to do it, learn it, and experience the rush, get the confidence, and then do it again next year, hopefully solo.

Getting ready for the Maui to Molokai Challenge!

My partner was Mike Owens, we did a great job, for first timers, and we had fun. And we will do it again next year. I started visualizing this goal in November, and kept at it since then, but on the beach that morning I was just grateful to have the opportunity to do such a thing, everyone was giving us course instructions, Jeremy was saying this will be an experience of a lifetime and to enjoy it, but once we put the paddle to the water… That visualization, the memory of Jeremy’s instructions and Connors video all came in to focus and that made the difference.It was a great day, emotional and draining but I will do it again next year for sure.”        Stephen

This is an excellent example of how Stephen’s visual training of seeing his successful outcome and all the steps he needed to take to get there, seeing himself as an athlete, a competitor and a finisher!  Good job Stephen!

 What I suggest is that you get real clear on what you want to see. Get real specific with how you want to perform. Do you want to go faster, carve bigger turns, or catch bigger glides or simply finish? Focus that imagery on just that. See in your mind over and over again that perfect picture of the outcome.  Some people also explore hypnosis.

When you look in the mirror at the gym, get hyper focused and don’t be embarrassed of how strong you think you look. Right on! That’s what I want.  Growl, sing see the confetti!  If one of my clients is training for a big event and we’re squeaking out one more set or rep, I just love to whisper in their ear, “this is when you win.”     I’ll also say, “Are you not the fierce competitor I know?  Then do it.”

Now I’m not the mean trainer you see on TV, but I do give my clients the tools to help them get real with themselves and give them lots of positive images while we are training. I am the one that will keep you very positive and erase any negative and mental obstacles. If you don’t have a trainer, I suggest you try and do the same.

Develop a mantra that you say to yourself as you have your image. This is also a very powerful tool I suggest to my clients that get’s them very fired up and focused.  I don’t care if it sounds totally silly, or if it’s a string of unusual sounds, it’s what resonates with them,   If it makes sense to them and get’s them to that place they must go, then say it. I know people hear me when I’m surfing, SUP surfing or training down Maliko. I talk to myself all the time out loud. 

What I strongly suggest when testing out your mantra with your visual, please don’t say negative things, like “you dummy, just one more stroke” or “I’m an idiot…  “. You get my drift. Positive words, positive images equal a positive outcome.

Takeaway: Say to yourself“ I am an athlete, a fierce competitor and I am strong”.   See yourself getting tubed, finishing your first 5 or 10k, rounding that last buoy, or hitting it full throttle across the line.

I’d love to read about what you see when you train and what the outcomes are? Are you faster, stronger? How did it change the way you train? We welcome your comments!

Aloha, Suzie Cooney, CPT

Should you like to learn more about Suzie and train with her on Maui for your next successful experience, go to her website at http://www.suzietrainsmaui.com

Also follow her on Face Book at: http://www.facebook.com/suzietransmaui   Follow SuzieTrainsMaui on Twitter

Suzie is alsoTeam Rider for Naish International. Check out the latest in her SUP specific training tips.

Transform your performance! Train like Suzie’s clients with the INDO Board