You’re team is down two and you have the ball at the top of the key. You slowly rock the defender to sleep as the clock winds down. Quicker than lightning, you hit him with a killer crossover and shoot a stepback three. Splash. Game over. Your team wins. Fans storm the court.
If you're like me, you've imagined similar game winning scenarios hundreds if not thousands of times. But why stop there? You can improve the effectiveness of your training by using that same imagination during workouts. This post will explore 4 benefits of utilizing a vivid imagination in your workouts.
1) Stave off Boredom
It can be tedious to practice the same move over and over again. Even the hardest workers sometimes have to slog through difficult workouts. But if you can imagine a defender in your face, workouts becomes less like practice and more like a competitive game situation. And when it feels like a game, it becomes much more fun.
2) Encourage Creativity in your Game
The best players are able to react instantly to how a defense is playing. To simulate this when you're training, use your imagination every time you make a move. For example, when you're practicing dribble moves, imagine that when you make an in and out move, your defender tries to jump it. The defender is now susceptible to a counter move so you hit him with a crossover.
Or if you're shooting triple threat pull ups, imagine a defender that plays with one foot higher than the other. You recognize this and attack the top foot and make him shift his hips enough to shoot a pull up.
If you can imagine how a defender is playing to that level of detail, you can train your body and mind to react instinctually. When the game comes around, you’ll be ready to pull off that creative move without having to consciously think about it.
3) Prepare for the Actual Game!
If you can’t practice in an actual game situation when you’re training by yourself, why not imagine one? Vividly picturing the atmosphere and the defender can help simulate live game action.
4) Mental Preparation
It’s no secret that there is often a lot riding on the outcome of the game. As a result, games incite a high level of tension and pressure. You have to prepare for this. Just like you practice your skills, you have to train your mind to handle the rigors of game situations. The more you can imagine game-like scenarios, the more accustomed you will be to handling its unique mental challenges.
It’s important to note that the more lifelike and detailed your imagination, the more pronounced its effect will be on your training. Try and imagine everything from the frenzy of the crowd to the colors of your jersey to the exact positioning of the defense. That way you will be simulating a game situation as accurately as possible.