My first exposure to visualization came when I was a young man playing basketball and my father was my coach at the time. He must have read some article about visualization saying how great athletes were using visualization techniques to improve, because I clearly remember him telling me that if I couldn’t get to a basketball hoop, I should practice shooting free-throws in my head. That I should imagine setting myself at the free throw line, taking a couple of practice dribbles while looking at the hoop, and then going through the motion of what a perfect free throw looked like in my head.
Being a typical pre-teen, I blew him off and told him he sounded like a crazy person.
As with much of my dad’s advice that I thought was stupid at the time, I have to tell him now as an adult that he was right about a lot more than I gave him credit for.
Part of what makes an excellent pack leader or dog trainer is the ability to stay on an even keel. That skill comes from a combination of a lot of experience and practice, but also the ability to effectively visualize what success looks like.