Keep dreaming

01/25/2024 |

In various books and studies, it is claimed that you can improve while sleeping, from surgeons to athletes. In short, top performers in their field all make use of the following principle: Just before going to sleep and while lying calmly in bed, they play a movie in their head of the ideal, beautiful performance of that day.
There has been a lot of research on this. Visualization, or imagery, contributes to your performance, motivation, mental resilience, and confidence.

Your subconscious at full throttle

So, see it as a beautiful way to get the accelerator of your subconscious at full throttle, so you can develop faster and end up where you want to be. For trainers and coaches, you can also integrate this into your training.

Imagining actions or moments

I have tested this myself by not doing a specific cool-down in the last 5 minutes, but letting the group catch their breath on the ground with a towel, sitting or lying down. Then they were asked which action of that evening they thought was good about themselves. Or which game situation they thought they were doing well in. Once everyone had thought of a moment, I asked them to repeat this as a movie in their head over and over again. It becomes even more beautiful if you can do breathing exercises with it. Breathe in for three counts (belly up) and exhale for five counts, breathe in for three counts and out for seven, breathe in for three counts and out for nine. The heart rate goes down while they are mentally busy developing.

Imagery in bed

And maybe you coach a team that goes on until 11:00 PM. Ask your players if they fall asleep easily or if they lie awake for a while. Often, due to the adrenaline from the training and the high heart rate, it is difficult to fall asleep quickly. Explain to them what imagery is and how they can apply it when they are awake anyway, then you might as well continue to develop a bit further.

In the book “Leren presteren” by Afke van de Wouw (Wouw Performance Coaching), this is referred to. On the website of the same name, under the heading Audio, there are some audio recordings where Imagery (Visualization exercises) is central.

Becoming rich while sleeping may not work, but getting better while sleeping… Definitely!

This blog was written by Dennis Veth (VolleyballXL).

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