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What Models Do You Use to Get Better? What This Week’s Me-Search Taught Me!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #172 – Watch or Listen HERE.

As luck would have it, I’ve been doing some “me-search” over the past week. I’m not sure it’s luck, but I am trying to turn an injury into something useful.

Here’s how I got here. I felt tired as I began my workout on Thursday morning and decided to take it easy on myself, cutting my workout from a 100 squat, 90 kettlebell swing 80 (you get the picture) routine in half. Then doing the half again.

It seemed more manageable…until it wasn’t.

As author Anthony Liccione once said, “One excuse, could destroy a multitude of chances.” And my chances to work out since then have been dashed after picking up my hex bar to do my 30 (should have been 60) deadlifts. I did ZERO! My back…not good.

At least I didn’t “throw out my back” unloading the dishwasher, I guess.

Either way, getting out of a chair has been enough exercise to send me through the roof for a few days.

Insert my “me-search”.

As I lay on an acupressure mat, looking for the slightest bit of relief, I began thinking about all the things I needed to do that take movement – put away outdoor furniture, clean my dad’s house, get our leaves to the curb for pick up, pick up my shorts from the floor and put on socks 😊!

Every time I pictured myself doing these things, it was as if my back would never be better. In my head, I was rehearsing all of this with the pain I was feeling. I know this is temporary. This isn’t my first injury. But my images surprised me…and irritated me.

This is not a new concept to me. In working with one of my DI athletes who was recovering from knee issues, she, too saw herself protecting her injured area which changed how her body moved in her mental rehearsals.

This is not what we want to see. As we know, the images we see or feel (and hear, too) in our conscious and subconscious minds have a significant effect on our performance; we are creating blueprints – neural pathways – in our brains.

The things we “see” or rehearse, whether it be from an internal perspective (like having a GoPro on your head), externally (like watching a movie screen), kinesthetically (we “feel” the experience) or auditorily (hearing rhythms, sounds) these mental pathways are engraved in our brain cells. They are signaling setting the stage for future movements, teaching the muscles when, how and with what intensity to move.

Great. I was reminding my brain and body to tighten up and protect instead of moving as have done the other 363 days this year. No need to engrave these patterns. I don’t want to stay here!

So, what to do?

I decided to take control and employ a tactic we talked about in my Sport Behavior class a few weeks ago. I decided to do some MODELING.

I am not talking about the modeling my mom did on runways, in advertisements and in TV commercials. I am talking about watching someone else do something I want to be able to do today. I used social media to help.

The “reels” function of Facebook came in handy. I watched…and listened…intently. After closely watching each movement, I began to “feel” myself do the movements just as I was seeing it done in front of me. Watching the person demonstrate the exercise I want to do is providing a detailed map – a comparison model – to which I can then compare my imagined movements and my future movements. I was replacing my model with me…moving the same way he or she was.

To do the things I was watching right now would be a stretch. But reminding my muscles that, as Patrick Mahomes says, “This is what I do”, or what they do, seemed much better than watching myself walk around with my hand on my back as I lean forward with no mobility and pain!

And once I can get back to doing things, I have a great model that can help me rate my performance against the standard!

In my modeling, I am emulating…reminding…learning and setting blueprints on how, when and with what intensity I need to move to perform the skill. I am sending messages to the muscles that will be engaged when I get back at it. I am keeping them online. I am maintaining their connection by improving my brain’s ability to signal activity in my muscles as they are to move…not how they feel right now!

Like anything worth something, to get the most out of modeling or mental rehearsal in general, it takes some intent…and practice.

According to Dr. Brian Clark from Ohio University, we must urge our muscles to move even though we aren’t moving. We must dive into what it would feel like if they were active and engaged.

This sounds like a lot of work and can seem intimidating.

But with focus and practice, this is something we can do with relative ease. We know what it feels like to do what we want to do. We have done it before. We aren’t building new pathways (usually). We are speeding them up…adjusting…and building on the foundation we have laid by watching someone better than us do what we are trying to perfect. We are helping the brain remember what activation comes next…and next…and next!

In The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills, Dan Coyle recommends that we “fill your windshield with vivid images of your future self, and to stare at them every day.” What are they doing? What does it look like, feel like, how do they move?

Now it’s your turn. See it, feel it, hear it, rehearse it…EXPERIENCE IT!

Success leaves clues and we have access to SO MANY models in the palm of our hand…literally!

That is what I am doing until I get back to 100%. Those you lead can do it, too!

Who do you need to be modeling?


P.S. If you don't have a MENTAL REHEARSAL system in your program, CALL ME! Let's get one set up in three short sessions! Please shoot me a text at 234-206-0946 or an email at

Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946


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