The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Visualisation in Action - Part 1: Throwing at Targets


This collection of 3 short reports examines how to achieve enhanced performance and greater accuracy by improving VISUAL data processing utilizing these particular mental processes:

R.A.S (Reticular Activating System, used for filtering data)
Laser-like focus and concentration using Dead Aim principles

As you read the reports, you will notice how these particular mental processes are inextricably linked through each skill examination in turn, as we study :

Part 1 - Throwing and hitting targets

I took a group of 8 of our Academy Cricketers aged 11-13 and explained to them the power of visualization in relation to fielding.

The key point I wanted to make to them was that by visualizing the stumps at each end of the wicket they could build a mental map to assist with the accuracy of their throwing in. I explained that in the course of the pick up and throw, the eyes had little time to search for the "target" with a good degree of accuracy – given the requirement to watch the ball into the hands first. This would necessitate the need for the brain to “best guess” the target area, and best here would be relative to the amount of hard visual data gathered. By visualizing the target(s) first, making them bigger, brighter, bolder, closer, then this would enhance their capabilities. PLUS – if they were to bring principles of Dead Aiming into the process then these capabilities would be enhanced by geometric proportions.

The Dead Aiming principles I am referring to are: 
  • Observing an area of the target in fine detail
  • Concentrating on a single spot in that area
  • Maintaining total observation and concentration on that spot in the course of performing the physical process or action
  • Significantly reducing the levels of sensual data input from all bar the visual.
They visualized three target wickets, the middle of which was a single stump. They each had three goes and, starting with their backs to the targets, were required to pick up a bounce off the wall and turn and throw across the sports hall at the targets - aiming at whichever one they wanted.

First time round there was one hit from 24 throws.
They were then told to continue with their visualizations and there was to be a second round of throws at the targets. This time they would be required to throw with their eyes closed. 

Result - There were 9 hits out of 24 throws - 5 of which were on the single stump target.

The interesting points were:
With the eyes closed, the target would only be seen in visual memory and the physical processes of the throw adjusted to that directional information. 
Plus, the 'clean' (undistracted) nature of this hot-wired data will also have contributed in some way to the resulting accuracy of the throws.

It goes without saying, however, that good throwing technique is THE most important thing here - but it’s a good example of what the mental processes can bring to a physical activity.

If you have the chance I suggest you do this little experiment for yourself.
It’s a good practice for your visualization skills anyway, plus I'm sure you'll arrive at the same conclusions we did.
I had to conclude the experiment after just 2 rounds of throws due to time constraints on the session - but the message was loud and clear to us all who were there.
After that 15 min exercise everyone was in no doubt as to the Power of Visualization!

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