I was having a discussion today about visualization and importance of the
mental practice in throwing far. What does everyone do as far as visualization
goes? How often, when, and what types of examples can anyone share for us?
Joe Greenberg (200+ ft. jav thrower)
As indicated in a previous post, I have followed the Russian relaxation
methodology outlined by Michael Yessis in the 80s. I
watch videos of model throwers (could even be tapes of one's own good throws)
as I stretch and do yoga-type breathing just before going to bed the night
before throwing. The relaxed state helps break down barriers to
I repeat this in the morning right after awakening before going off to the
track. After the same warm-up/stretch/drill routine as I use in practice, I
begin run thruís and warm up throws, focusing on
replicating the visualizations in my physical efforts.
As I have also indicated in past posts, I tie in music that has the rhythm I am
seeking in my approaches to watching the videos, my warm ups and even whistling
at the head of the runway. Explains why I look so goofy, I'm guessing.
The big key, as Jack Nicklaus has said, is to see the
whole approach, launch and especially the entire exact flight of the implement.
This is much more difficult than it sounds (at least for me)as one stands at the
head of the runway, stripping away all the distractions (college girls in lycra for most male throwers). The belief and relaxation
that comes from seeing the whole throw is an undervalued asset.
One last visualization: if I do not like the conditions (cold head winds like
this morning in Texas),
I visualize warm sun and tailwinds in my mental movie. When you feel the still
warmth of the sun on your face, you know you are in the zone.
What worked for me- a long post
6-7 nights a week for 45-50 minutes a session. The first thing you have to
master is the ability to RELAX and have a single focus: totally blank
everything out. THIS is VERY difficult but mastering that skill makes it easy
to get in the "zone" at meets and replicate what you did in mental
practices. It took me about 2 weeks to get to that "blank" ability: I
spent those days on the floor in a dark room (sounds like my soph yr in college!) totally focusing on my breathing- feel
the stomach rise on inhale and fall on exhale.
After that was done the routine went to breathing work for relaxation and
focus, then "seeing" me throw with flawless technique. I started
using music as a "white noise" to make blanking out easier: Pink
Floyd's "Animals" got the nod because of minimal singing (the barking
dogs and mooing cows did cause some distractions). At first this was not too
easy- particular parts of the throw I needed to improve were not clearly
visual- I didn't yet know how it looked. This improved with time and film study
of top throwers: understanding how long throws were produced made it easier for
me to "see" me doing it right. Later I got good enough to be able to
"see" me throwing at different sites of my meets: U of Tenn, NC State, UPenn, etc, so it
was easy to reproduce the feelings at the meets that I had in visualization (my
longest throws were at those 3 sites). Eventually I got so good at
visualization would be sore from those sessions as if I had actually thrown: I
was sweating, had muscle twitches, etc. There was a bit of a Pavlovian Response as well- I listened in meet warm-ups and
practice sessions to the same music I used in visualization sessions.
I think this helped me more than anything physical I did. It helped me develop
a movement pattern from thousands of "reps" w/out the time it may
normally take: I could "throw" several hundred times a session in 40
It very worthwhile, but I wonder how many athletes today have the desire and
will to go thru the hours needed to master it.....most people can't stand
waiting for a post to download from here. Can you take the time to relax and
really do this properly?