There are many forms of visualisation, and most of us know it in a sporting context as the use of imagery to reinforce a desired outcome of an activity or competition. It’s often used in preparation for the activity, for example an Olympic lifter going through their cues before they go to the platform or a soccer player seeing themselves performing the team plays.
Visualisation from a sports psychology perspective has been around for quite some time and is an important part of an athlete’s mental focus (studies have shown that visualisation alone can improve performance without training!). It can also be found in any good counsellor’s clinic, yoga studio or meditation retreat. So why wouldn’t we as Personal Trainers look to tap into this powerful tool also?
In fairness, visualisation techniques aren’t really part of the Cert 4 framework, are they? However the use of imagery techniques can also work for our clients as a powerful motivator. I am living proof of that, as are many of my clients. We even see extreme examples of it in use on weight loss reality TV shows, where trainers might shout at the participants asking the question, “Why are you here?” This cue then fuels a flood of images in the mind which hopefully represent where they see themselves in 10 years, and all of a sudden there is some fire in the belly and they are able to overcome the challenge they were given with ease.
We too can use imagery to get the most out of our clients. This is how:
On one hand, like any skill, practice makes perfect and by that I mean have your client think of the image regularly and feel the passion it ignites (stick a picture on the bathroom mirror and tell them to look at it while brushing their teeth). On the other hand, call on their image only when your client needs you the most to push them to a place where they wouldn’t take themselves. Whether that’s a strength set to failure or burpees at the back end of a hard core circuit. Save it for those big occasions when you are truly teaching your client how strong they actually are, and watch them take control of their goals.
Tristan Hill, Masters of Sports Coaching, author of Lifting the Bar and mentor to Personal Trainers.