Visualizing for future success

By Drake Fages

Have you ever found yourself caught up in a daydream, distracted and taken away to somewhere else? Back in my playing days, I would daydream, but I would do it on purpose. Sports psychologists refer to it as visualization. 

I would lay on my back, the sun in my face, with my eyes closed. I would shut the world out and just let my mind wander. I would slowly begin to draw a picture of the type of day I was in. Was it warm? Sunny? Was the grass long, or cut more recently? Could I smell the grass and dirt? Then I would change my perspective and I would picture myself standing in the batter’s box- ready to hit. My eyes would feel the sun and degree of brightness it radiated. I would notice what the field looked like, like where the scoreboard was and how close or far away the fans were? All this was setting an image of what was to come for me later that day. 

My visualization wouldn't just stop with my surroundings. I needed action. I would begin to think about the moving pieces I would face in my upcoming at-bats.  I would picture the pitcher. Were they a righty or lefty? Body type? What did they look like throwing the ball? Was their motion fast, or slow? Did they release the ball high above their head or down low? All of the action points imagined were to give me the upper hand to understand my own actions before they actually took place.  I would take the images in my mind and put them all together. How would I see the ball coming at me from the pictures hand? What would that look like in the sun? How loud would the fans be based on the stadium layout? All this leading to me swinging the bat and hitting the ball at the right moment. 

With my eyes still closed, I would take the picture I had painted in my mind and would run several different video clips over the top of them. I would hit different types of pitches in different types of situations. I would see myself succeeding in several different situations that I dictated. Situations that I chose for myself.

Just like I did, and thousands of other athletes do daily, I visualized success. Like a basketball player does when they stare at the rim, step to the free throw line, hold the ball in one hand and flick their wrist as if they are shooting; they are visualizing themselves making the shot. Or a golfer imagining the shot they needed to hit before they stepped up to the ball. 

Visualization has proven to be an effective way to prepare yourself for success.

For this reason, we have incorporated an exercise with our athletes to do the same for their lives in general, outside of the playing field. We ask students to visualize themselves in the future. We ask them to paint a picture of their personal life and their professional life. Where will they live? What will they look like? Who else is in the picture with you? in the future What will you do for a living? Who will be doing it with you? We ask them to design their perfect day with as much detail as they can imagine. The perfect day on the job. The perfect life. 

We’ve learned that when we ask people to do this it gives them a chance to see for themselves where their life could go and who they could become. A realistic and appropriate visualization of what lies ahead. Although this is massively different from laying in the grass and picturing an at bat or standing and waiting to shoot a free throw; the construct is the same. We have students diagnose the “weather” in their life. What has affected the way they see their future situation? We ask them to see what moving pieces may affect their future life. Relationships, major and work experience, further education requirements (to name a few). Then we have them insert themselves. What have they done to get themselves there, and when they are there what are they doing? How do they feel? 

Athletes know how to visualize athletic things. We help them see one of the most important aspects of their lives; their future. Painting a real and tangible picture of who they want to be is extremely difficult, but as athletes we know the harder something is, the greater the result. 

Take a chance to ask us about our programs and we will provide you with information that may change the way you see YOUR future world.

Contact us today to learn how The YouSchool Athletic Programs can be customized for your environment.

Drake Fages is a bearded mystery. One moment he's laughing at his own jokes with a group of coaches, the next minute he's challenging a student to work harder. He is a carpenter-in-training, a lifelong Dodgers fan, and an aficionado of plaid. After a career detour selling medical devices, he has found his sweet spot working with student-athletes, coaches, and parents at the YouSchool. Connect with Drake on LinkedIn and Twitter.