Becoming Little Champions by Practicing Visualization Exercises
Today we are celebrating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace! On that occasion, we want to share some useful ideas for you and your little athletes.
As a foundation named by an athlete who was declared the best in the world multiple times, we are using this day as a great occasion to talk to you about the topic of parenthood and sport, and we will be covering it in more detail in the future. Until then, we want to share with you how to spend quality time with your children in isolation, which represents a great challenge for all parents, and especially for those whose children do sports.
Whether you are a parent of a child who practices sports actively or just as a hobby, you are definitely worried about how the inability to attend training will influence their sport development, continuity in competition, or excess energy in enclosed space.
This is an opportunity to try out an exceptionally efficient and already tested method of professional athletes, the visualization exercises.
Regardless of which sport your child practices, it represents a powerful skill for achieving various goals in life, so you can try it out with your children. This method has shown excellent results, and great progress in competitive results, especially in younger categories, and it is often ignored and left in the background compared to the usual and established sport training routines.
Visualization exercises are an excellent way for children to improve their motor skills as well as concentration and breathing, which is very important for their proper mental and physical development.
The video which you can watch below is about the benefits of visualization exercises, which have been proven by research over several years. Additionally, you can hear the experiences of the people using this technique regularly from the testimonials of top athletes.
Namely, according to scientific research, the secret is in the fact that, when we imagine how we are performing certain moves in our head, the receptors in our brain receive the same stimuli as when we are really performing them, the result is the same, the move is being practiced and perfected, regardless of the lack of physical activity.
While your child is practicing visualizing a match, game or a move they want to perfect, we recommend you read the excellent manual for parents in sport. Here is the introduction, that we believe will be interesting for you:
“Games and sports are anthropological constants in childhood and youth. Children and young people like sport for what it is, for the excitement it offers them, the challenge and the competition, the joy of participation, the joy of victory and the sadness of defeat. Led by the desire to allow their children to feel the true beauty of sport, to have their experiences with sport be positive and productive, to learn to respect themselves and others through sport, to learn to feel like winners when they give their maximum, to act in accordance with the rules of fair play and being a good sport – the authors wrote this manual. It is intended for parents, but it can be a useful guide for other adults who have young athletes around them.”
The authors of this manual are psychologist Dr. Ljubica Bačanac, professor Nebojša Petrović, as well as famous water polo national team coach, with multiple Olympic medals, Nenad Manojlović.
This manual is a good combination of years of research and scientific work in the sphere of sport psychology, as well as experience “from the field” at the biggest international competitions, through work with hundreds of top athletes. Techniques and analyses which are in the manual can help you be the best version of yourself and will give you guidelines on how to be a real support and to your child on its path towards achieving its sports successes. That path is full of challenges for the family, which is why we recommend that you approach it openly, read it and study it multiple times.
Start with the little things that will, we are certain, give positive results with time, both in sports and in the relationship with your child, which is the most important thing for its healthy mental and physical development. Share with us your opinions and thoughts about this topic, we would like to hear your impressions!
About the author: Ana Jovanovic was a member of the Fed Cup Tennis Team of Serbia from the age of 16-26. During her tennis career, she was ranked 207th in the WTA rankings with 12 professional international titles. Thanks to her many years of experience, she has had the opportunity to work as a sports director and head coach of the Novak Tennis Academy and as the Selector of the junior national team of Serbia for girls up to age 14. As part of the Novak Djokovic Foundation team, she is focused on developing projects on the topic of parenting in sports.