All successful athletes in every sport use mental imagery to enhance performance, particularly for challenging performances such as learning a new dive, making a correction, or competing under pressure. Some athletes are better than others at utilizing mental imagery. Here are two simple practice tips your athletes can employ for enhancing their mental imagery. Reserve time after practice to have your divers practice these simple techniques.

Layered Stimulus Response Training (LSRT)

This technique involves imagining the same movement multiple times, but adding additional details each time. The benefit of this technique is that it allows athletes, particularly those who find mental imagery difficult, to gradually build up the complexity and vividness of the image.

Action Observation

This technique involves watching someone perform the movement (e.g., a video of an elite diver doing a dive for 10s) and then imagining that movement. The advantage to this technique is that it provides athletes with the correct details to imagine. As he was learning to dive, Olympic gold medalist Mark Lenzi liked to watch Greg Louganis and then imagine Greg performing the dive. He imagined Greg performing the dive instead of himself because he was too critical of his own diving!