Visualize Like the Pros



“Visualization is an important tool for me”

Phil Jackson, 

Fox Sports Top NBA Coach of All Time

Visualization is using your imagination to create what you desire in life.  Yet the term visualization can be misleading.  Perhaps another word might be imagine—to put an image of something you want to accomplish into your mind.  Don’t let the words confuse you, because either word is fine. Just see which method works best for you.

We can’t all be superstar athletes, actors, singers, musicians…but we can be more successful in our chosen fields.  If you look at most any field, the successful people will most likely say they visualized themselves achieving their goals.


Successful athletes envision themselves winning in their sport.  Coaches draw pictures of the plays on blackboards in practice rooms.  The diagrams show each individual player how he or she is supposed to execute his moves in order to make that play successful.  Over and over again, athletes visualize themselves executing the right moves.  They see themselves making the perfect block or pass to make the play exactly as it was designed on the board.

Phil Jackson, who has 11 Championship rings, believes in visualization.  He guided Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers to three titles in his first stint as their head coach from 1999-2004, and guided Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in his nine years as head coach from 1989-1998.  In his book, “Sacred Hoops,” he wrote “Visualization is an important tool for me.”  Jackson helped his players not only to visualize their success winning games, but he gave them guided meditations called, the “Safe Spot” during half times to help the players calm down to focus. The players in their visualization each went to a special place in their minds where they felt safe and at peace.

Jack Nicklaus also known as “The Golden Bear”, is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional golfers of all time, in a large part because of his records in major championships, claims that his success is entirely owed to practicing concentration and visualization.

Mary Lou Retton is one of the greatest female US gymnastics. She was the first American to win the all-around gold medal in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  Time Magazine reported in an Olympics cover story, “On the night before the finals in women’s gymnastics, famous athlete, Mary Lou Retton, then age 16, lay in bed at the Olympic Village mentally rehearsing her performance ritual.”

Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than science.” Professional athletes have known this for decades.