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Rob Dawson for MindSport

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How to use effective visualisation

Your brain is your most valuable and most dangerous weapon. In order to use it well you must first understand it. To harness knowledge is to gain control, and to gain control is to feed self-confidence and with self-confidence comes never-ending possibilities, opportunities to flourish.

brain flourish

When we first begin our visualisation training we look at a basic structure, we construct an image, or a scenario, recall an event, practice or learn a technique or develop and hone a strategy in a similar way utilising five very key and specific elements.

The basic structure of your visualisation involves what you see, what you hear, what you taste or smell and the temperature, what you touch and finally how you feel.

Your brain is a wonderful tool which has all the components to help achieve a vivid image and in order to use each area effectively, we will explore what each key section does and how it functions. Our aim when visualising is to convince the brain and body they have a synergy even when one is absent, i.e. your brain believes your doing something even when your body isn’t actually doing it.


The areas of the brain we are looking to exercise include:


  • Thalamus coordinates the sensory impulses from eyes, ears and skin

  • Vividly map out information you expect to see, hear and physically feel attempting the goal

  • Parietal Lobe which receives and processes sensory information from the body such as determining the location and speed of objects

  • Add to this specific information around distance or location of things included in the goal, such as distance from opponents, range and timing, plus speed of actions carried out or actions you expect to confront

  • Occipital Lobe which processes visual data and routes it to other parts of the brain for identification and storage

  • Process in the other visual information which you have no control over, a dropped gum shield, types of gloves, the look or size of opponents etc.


  • Temporal Lobe which controls memory storage of emotion, hearing, and language

  • Add in details around basic emotions and sounds and words you may say or hear attempting the goal


  • Hypothalamus receiving taste and smell impulses, coordinating messages from the autonomous nervous system, controlling the heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature

  • Now add in your expected heart rate control, body temperature and blood pressure when attempting your goal or task


  • Cerebellum which acts as the brains expert of skilled, and coordinated movement –

  • See and feel yourself executing complex skilled techniques perfectly and in doing so successfully completing your task

  • Mid Brain which is a small section of the brain that controls the reflex movements of the head, neck and eye muscles

  • Now add in smooth and fluidity in head movement and controlled eye gaze behaviour in spite of potential fear or anxiety

  • Frontal Lobe which organizes responses to complex problems, plans steps, searches memory for relevant experience, adapts strategies to accommodate new data, guides behaviour and contains the working memory

  • Now anticipate unexpected actions, different possibilities which you wouldn’t normally expect and process and react to these eventualities


  • Amygdala which is constantly alert to the needs of basic survival. These survival needs include things like emotional reactions such as anger and fear

  • Next add in your proposed reaction to fear or anger, be composed or control aggression. Add in any feelings from catalysts you may have explored or identified, sensations which add passion or excitement and purpose or even control and composure.

Hope that gives you an indication of how effective visualisation works.

I help MMA athletes achieve their full potential. Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram 👇🏼

Or you can find a whole range of exercises over at MindSport

Top comments (1)

ajoan369joan profile image
Joan Adams

Love it Rob!

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