Rushall pointed out that the performance is likely to be better if the final evaluation allows for the attainment of a number of different goals rather than a single goal. He also stressed that initial competitive goals should not be set too high and should allow for a gradual improvement in performance over the years so that the athlete’s motivation is not decreased by continued failure. Bruce Fordyce’s running record (see Exercises 8.26) is an excellent example of this approach.
Mental imagery allows you to practice the activity an unlimited number of times and to review past successes and failures. You can also imagine yourself exceeding performances achieved in practice.
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Finally, a number of additional pointers can aid performance and should therefore be remembered during the practice of mental imagery (Liebetrau, 1982; Rushall, 1979):
Make a public commitment to your goal.
Play your game and not your opponent’s game.
Enjoy the challenge and the event; participate as if you were a child.
Play as well as you can, and don’t play against your opponent. The issue of whether or not you are a better athlete than your opponents is one you can do nothing about; you have your equipment and they have theirs. What
You can do something about is how much of your physical and mental equipment you will be able to put into use.
Concentrate on yourself and not on your opponent or on your previous success; build on your confidence with self-congratulation.
Keep a narrow focus of attention.
Think about the significance of the event.
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