Olympic athletes, the pros, athletes at the highest levels – you’ve watched them do it: play the mental game. They all have different explanations for just how they do it:
The professional level. On television, the coach of a world champion basketball team talks about his “Zen approach” and how he uses meditation, visualization and mental rehearsal. You watch his players standing at the foul line, their bodies mimicking the shot before they even touch the ball, as they visualize what they are about to do.
Elite Olympic athletes. Members of the Olympic bobsled team, before making their run, stand together, their eyes closed, their bodies swaying from side to side as they mentally run the course. Olympic athletes of the Eastern European countries have played the mental game for years, using everything from hypnosis to meditation.
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College and beyond. The CBS television program 48 Hours reports that the United States Military Academy at West Point teaches future army officers to meditate and visualize – to win football games and much more. They call it “performance enhancement.”
“We want to be able to eventually provide this kind of training for all our cadets so that it’s a part of their leadership development,” a West Point instructor tells CBS, “because this is no different really than the ability of a leader to think, problem-solve, react, eliminate distractions in combat.
“On the battlefield – tremendous chaos,” he continues. “The ability to maintain focus, to maintain a calm state and to make critical decisions is paramount to our profession.”
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