Micro Visualization is an incredibly powerful tool that you have probably used all your life, but never had a name for it. The effects it can have on your performance, effort, or overall enjoyment are incredible. However, I believe there is something preventing us from fully taking advantage of it. Before we get into that, let’s take a brief look at what Micro Visualization is.
Can I Have a Cookie?
Micro Visualization is Mental Rehearsal in it’s most actionable and basic form. It’s what you do before a job interview. Going over each question you may be asked, each answer you will give in return. How will I sit? Will my hair be okay?
When you’re preparing to go to a tournament; “Okay we will leave at this time, arrive at this time, and then do this before the tournament”.
In all ways it’s the act of placing yourself in a scenario, looking at possible outcomes and preparing yourself. When equated to improving your performance, it’s waiting for your next match, knowing your opponent and planning your match up. Or it’s queuing for your next game and thinking about how you will travel the map.
Overall this is something that you have done throughout your entire life. Even going back to the first time you asked for a cookie.
Taking it Another Step Forward
The key to utilizing this tool is to become more aware of when you’re using it. Taking your rehearsal exercises and focusing on the specifics inside the scenario. Activating your brain while you rehearse increases the likelihood that you will recall the information while in the middle of performing. It will also help you be more reactive to new obstacles.
The evidence is already out there for how it can improve performance as we discussed here. The benefits don’t stop there though. It reinforces confidence in your own ability. This also helps you commit fully into your next match or goal by increasing your desire to see the whole scenario play out. By dedicating the time, you’re essentially putting ‘skin in the game’.
By opening your mind through question asking and answering before you play, it opens the door for more questions and answers when you’re done.
What Does It Look Like?
To give a lengthy example of this, imagine that you are playing in a 1 v 1 match. Prior to going in you start to rehearse your match. You factor in as much knowledge as you know about them and weigh it against the assessment of your own ability. So lets say you know their character and their play style and how that matches against your character and play style. Now the questions start to form. “I’m going to do X, what will they do in response? If they do X, then what do I do? If I am here and they are…..you get the idea.
With this breakdown of the match you form a game plan and attempt to execute it. For this example let’s say you lost the first round because they did something you didn’t expect. You caught everything else and had an appropriate response, but there was something you missed. Now a new question has formed, and thus a new answer. You’re able to see it clearly because you’ve gained clarity from rehearsing and recognizing. So now you’re free to build upon what you already know, and adapt. That is the process of leveling up, pushing your ceiling higher and growing. Contrary to that, you went in blind and lost. Now the answers you find to the questions may be too late to apply, may not apply or are difficult to find. That can demoralize you and make the concept of ‘getting better’ seem more difficult than it is.
the obstacle theory(Make room for my soapbox)
For the most part a lot of this information may seem obvious. Like I mentioned before, you probably already do this subconsciously the majority of the time. However, there is something that I feel is stopping us from utilizing it’s full potential.
In the current time we are constantly bombarded by social media alerts, text messages, just our mobile devices in general. These are incredible distractions that restrict our brain’s ability to create and explore new scenarios. It can hinder our ability to reflect after a tournament or after a practice session. Even worse, we may immediately turn to it in between matches and completely skip Micro Visualization all together.
As children, before we had all of these distractions there was more time spent day dreaming about the game we play. The ins and outs of it, our goals when we play. There was even a level of fondness and expectancy that came with the quiet boredom in between playing. That level of happiness and fondness can have a surprising effect on your rate of improvement.
Given that we do live in this time period and these things cannot go away, I will simply make a suggestion. During practice sessions, tournaments, or pre-tournament phases, I suggest taking a break from the social media feed. Let your mind explore and focus on enjoying all the possible outcomes of your journey.