In sports the effect of observation and visual imagery (mental practice) is well studied. Studies show that athletes who mentally train their specific task, improves their skillfulness, to similar levels to those physically practice it. Motor imagery and observation are both driven by the same basic mechanism.

Motor imagery is a tool in which a person imagines that he/she is performing the movement without even moving a finger . I can imagine I’m walking in the beach, while I sit in my 4-hour long lecture. I can imagine scenes or objects that are not really there. I can mentally perform actions I couldn’t do in reality.  The areas in your brain that control skillful movement are activated internally, the same way they would if you physically performed a movement. The same thing happens when you observe someone else or a video of someone else perform a task.

In conclusion, recording yourself while you lift is a very useful tool to improve your snatch, clean and jerk, squat or any other movement pattern you wish to work on. Not only would it allow you recognize pieces of it that can be improved on, but it will help you engrain that movement pattern. For beginner lifters, watching videos of talented lifters, or even watching attentively at your most advanced teammates technique can significantly aid in your development and maturation as an athlete.

Stefanie .C, SPT

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