Psychological Preparation

By: Josh Bryant

Everyone has seen the epic classic Rocky IV, where underdog Rocky Balboa defeats the undefeated Russian champion, Ivan Drago, to avenge the death of his great friend, Apollo Creed. 

Rocky goes to Russia, lives in the middle of nowhere and trains in a Spartan environment by using the most archaic devices and techniques.  In contrast, Drago trains in a lavish setting with all of the modern day bells and whistles. 

Rocky never spars in training.  While his general conditioning improves greatly, anyone that has been around pugilism for any amount of time will tell you there is no substitute for bone on bone sparring!

 How did Rocky do it?  Psychological Preparation!  While this account is fictional, here is a real life account of psychological preparation that helped one man go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one life-changing chess match.

In the 1920s, perennial chess world champion, Capablanca was undefeated and many experts of the game of chess felt Capablanca would never be defeated.

Alekhine did not believe that!   But no one besides Alekhine felt he had a serious chance of beating Capablanca at the 1927 world championships.

Capablanca blew off Alekhine when preparing for the match.  Instead, he enjoyed rum, cigars rolled between the thighs of virgins and all the “good things in life” that accompany being a champion in Cuba.

Alekhine retired to the country.  In this Spartan environment, he quit smoking, quit drinking and did calisthenics much like a prizefighter preparing for fisticuffs! 

For three months, Alekhine trained in the country; he did not play chess physically.  Instead, he rehearsed in his mind the image of defeating Capablanca in every possible situation he may encounter in his mind.

After playing the movie he created in his mind of defeating Capablanca and watching it over and, he would imagine himself as the victorious world champion.

 In the upset of the twentieth century, Alekhine defeated Capablanca!  Alekhine saw himself like a world champion and acted like one long before anyone else believed him.

This is the equivalent of a beer room brawler defeating George St. Pierre in the cage.

If you are involved with a very physical sport, obviously, you must train physically hard! 

No one denies this.  However, if you do not employ some sort of mental imagery training, you are not living up to your full potential.  Physical Training+Mental Imagery training=Synergy!

If you are a running back and want to rush for a 1,000 yards next season, see yourself doing it now!  Want to deadlift a 50 lbs PR, see you self doing it now!  Create a vision and take action.