Next month, many of the world’s top athletes will convene in PyeongChang County, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics. These individuals have trained for a lifetime to reach this goal and video is an integral part of that training regimen. As the Olympics draw closer, we take a look at how video makes better athletes.
We know that in order to perform well in their given sport, athletes need to train. However, training consists of more than just the physical aspect of a specific sport. Nutrition, recovery and mental fitness are some of the other essential components of a complete program. Video can be utilized as part of the mental element of training.
When an athlete studies a video, they can observe their movements and then use that information to inform visualization training. This is the practice of using mental images or pictures to improve performance—like a mental rehearsal. Picturing yourself performing successfully has been shown to improve actual performance. In fact, if you’re visualizing effectively, your muscles will be activated. Talk about spending quality time sitting on the couch!
There are many benefits of video analysis in sports. Watching a recording of yourself can make your faults obvious. You can see errors in form and work to correct them. Spotting these flaws can even help an athlete avoid future injury or remedy an existing affliction.
An ability to analyze your strengths is another advantage of video. A player can see what they do well and capitalize on that talent in their next match. If your jump shot from the free throw line goes in nine out of ten times, why not take that shot more often?
The way a sportsperson uses self-analysis can also be used on the opposition. Before a game, match or meet, have a look at your opponent. What do they do well and how can you neutralize that strength? What are their weaknesses and how can you exploit them? Beyond studying the specifics of an opponent, knowing what to expect in general can also make an athlete feel more prepared.
Mental preparation is the other half of physical performance. Some coaches say the mental game is just as important as the physical game. Others say the mental game is more important than the physical game. Video review can help put an athlete in the proper headspace for competition. Mental preparation leads to focus and this focus can result in a sense of calm. The goal is to head into a competition relaxed but prepared.
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