See it, Feel it, Hear it, Do it
See it to achieve it. Seems simple, right? It is and it isn't. Seeing yourself succeed in your sport before going out will help you succeed when you get out there on the court. However, it is a skill that requires practice for it to work for you most effectively.
Some call it visualization. In Sport and Performance Psychology we call it imagery. I've coined the term "sensory" because while visualization and imagery have the connotation of using your vision to see what you want, the reality is that your ability to paint a picture using all five senses will help make this skill most productive.
Your goal in sensory is to create the most vivid, controllable image possible from a first person perspective (this perspective is like you're in "the movie" watching as if wearing a VR headset, as opposed to watching a movie with you in it from afar).
One way to think about the skill of sensory is an acronym known as PETTLEP:
Try to create a script or simply go through each of these elements, using your five senses for the first portion, physical. Then, go down the line: what is my environment like? This may overlap with your five senses inventory. Timing - what time of day is it? How long does the action take? Try to control your image so that you’re engaging the activity as fast/slow as the actual activity takes. Task - what are the details of the task? If you’re visualizing a shot, think follow-through, snapped wrist, leg strength, etc. Learning - what have you learned during this sensory practice? Emotion - how does it feel? What emotions are coming up for you as you do this? Don’t be shy! Be introspective. Be honest with yourself. Finally, perspective, as discussed - are you watching a movie with you in it or are you in the movie? Either one is helpful but try to work towards putting yourself in the scene.
Ok, but how much should I practice this for it to be effective? Shoot for 3x/week, 15 minutes each session. Try to find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed and you can take a few breaths before beginning.
That’s imagery in a nutshell. Good luck on your quest!