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The aim of this page is to help you develop your imagery (visualisation) skills. We will look at the elements of imagery development and the creation of scripts to help in developing your imagery skills.

Imagery Categories

The five main categories of imagery have been identified as follows:

Where do I start?

To be effective, like any skill, imagery needs to be developed and practiced regularly. There are four elements to mental imagery - Relaxation, Realism, Regularity and Reinforcement (the 4Rs)


Having a relaxed mind and body so you can become involved in the imagery exercises, feel your body moving and experience any emotions generated. It may help to use a relaxation technique prior to imagery training.


Create imagery so realistic you believe you are actually executing the skill. In order to obtain the most realistic imagery possible, you must incorporate clarity, vividness, emotion, control and a positive outcome into your imagery:


Spending between 3 and 5 minutes on imagery seems to be most effective. It should be included in training and time outside of training should also be spent on imagery. (10-15 minutes a day)


The writing of imagery scripts will help you plan the content and timing of your imagery training.

Creating a Script

Basic picture

Outline the basic content of the act or situation to be imagined - write it in the first person (I). To describe a skill execution, make sure you include all components of the skill to be imagined or behaviours to be emphasised, especially if it is a complex skill. If you are describing the events in a sport situation, include all actions that occur in the event and the correct sequencing of all the actions.

Adding details

Add the sensory stimuli - the descriptors (adjectives) that add colour, detail (e.g. context, weather) and movement qualities (e.g. speed of movement) to the original script components or events.

Add the movement or kinesthetic feelings, physiological or body responses, and the emotional responses. The words that are added are action words such as verbs and adverbs that clearly describe the quality of actions or emotions.

Refine the script

Read it to yourself and try to imagine the event in all its sensory, action and emotional detail. Do you feel as if you are actually executing the skill or experiencing the event? If not, re- examine the descriptors and action words to see if they accurately reflect the sensations associated with this action.

Tape it

When you have a suitable script then record it on to audiotape and you can then use it as a prompt for your imagery training.

Example - Tennis Serve

Basic Story - Components: Preparation, Ball toss, Impact, Recovery, Ball flight and landing in service box

Adding detail - Seeing the racket in the hand, the bright yellow ball rebounding against the green court as you bounce it in preparation, seeing the position of the opponent, looking at the point on the court where you will direct the serve. Feeling the relaxed shoulders and hands, the racket grip in the hand, seeing the bright yellow ball nestled on the fingers in the hand, feeling the smooth release of the ball at the arm's full stretch, feeling the body weight shift, the knees bend, the body rising upward as the knees extend, feeling the power in the body, the racket head accelerate, the wrist snap, the sound of the racket making contact with the hall, watching the ball swerve and land in the centre corner of the green service box and kick away for a clean ace. Feel the exhilaration and pleasure.

Refine the script - Rewrite the script until when you read it, you feel as if you are executing the serve.


In designing your imagery program apply the FITT principals, as we do with physical training