Unlimited Performance Baseball athlete David Nick was recently profiled in the OC Varsity Insider on ocvarsity.com. In the article written by Jonathan Kay David went on to describe a pre-game visualization routine that he goes through prior to every game. I thought it was a great example of how visualization can help you develop a mechanically sound and repeatable swing. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Less-seen tools: After practice, the day before each game, Nick steps into the batter’s box. There’s a bat in his hand, but there’s no ball coming his way. There’s no pitcher. He’s the only one on the field.
Sports psychology “is a big part of what we do,” Weber said. “But he’s taken it to the next level.”
Nick explains: “I get into the box, stare out to the mound, and I’ll have an at-bat. (The count) is 0-0; I’m looking for a fastball.”
He envisions the next day’s starting pitcher, the windup, how the ball will look coming out of this pitcher’s hand.
“Every time, I visualize squaring up to the ball, hitting it with backspin,” Nick said.
Why does he do this? It’s a recent development, from the past few years, after Weber passed out the book Heads-Up Baseball, by Tom Hanson and Ken Ravizza.
“It gets me in the right mind-set,” Nick said of his batters box routine. “It builds my confidence up. Along with visualization, I’ll think of recent successes I’ve had.”
For those of you who are unfamiliar with who David is he is one of the top high school players in the country. He has already committed to play at UCLA and is projected to go in the first couple of rounds of this years professional draft. David and I have been working together for close to 6 years and I have had the privilege of watching him grow, mature, and develop as a baseball player.
David is a great example to other players not just because of his exceptional ability but rather as an example of how to develop that ability. His work ethic is unparalleled, his commitment to development is second to none, and it is easy to see why he is having the level of success he is now experiencing. Aside from the physical work that he does David is a great example of how visualization can be such a powerful tool in the development of an athlete.
In addition to the pre-game visualization above David uses different forms of visualization as part of his daily routine. In the time we have worked together I have seen David take countless dry swings in front of the mirror. He begins and ends each practice session with mirror work, breaking down each aspect of the swing. You can see him visualizing a pitched ball and then taking a swing in front of the mirror making sure his movements are perfect.
Whether he realizes it or not his work in front of the mirror is another form of visualization. He is reinforcing proper physical mechanics into his subconscious mind which will better enable him to repeat those mechanics during a game. This is one of the things that separates David from other players. His ability to repeat proper mechanics and avoid mechanical breakdown is amazing.
Other players could greatly benefit from mimicking David’s visualization techniques. Remember that our goal as hitters is to repeat proper mechanics in order to best enable ourselves to succeed. Since the mind can’t distinguish between what is real and what is imagined you have the ability to repeat a perfect swing thousands of times throughout a given day. You have complete control over what you visualize and as such can guarantee your swing is perfect. You also have the power to visualize entire at-bats. You can imagine facing tomorrow’s starting pitcher. You can see all of his pitches and visualize success against him. You will find that when it does come time to face him you will feel as though you have already done it. Your confidence will be greater and you will be more likely to repeat proper mechanics during that at-bat.
Visualization is a powerful tool. Many of the top athletes use it regularly to help increase their performance. David is a perfect example of an athlete who uses this powerful tool to help raise his level of performance. It’s easy, you don’t need any additional equipment, and you can do it virtually anywhere. There is no reason that you can’t use visualization to better your game. In a world where there is a number of expensive machines and tools to help you better your swing the best tool is free.