Question: If I watch a sports show on TV and get tight muscles and a high heart rate from the excitement, does that count as time spent doing mental training like visualization? — Ann S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Interesting question!
Watching TV doesn’t count for physical training no matter how hot and bothered the game makes you. A high heart rate that’s caused by what you’re watching rather than what you’re doing has no carryover value to cycling.
Does it count for visualization? Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a big fan of visualization as it’s preached by sports psychologists.
I think it’s important to have a positive attitude and be able to see yourself doing your event successfully and in good form. But these things are no substitute for building the fitness and skills required to physically perform. A good self-image comes from competence, not from wishful thinking (even if that wishful thinking is legitimized by giving it a fancy name).
I do think it helps to watch race videos of great riders doing their thing. You may pick up some nifty techniques or simply get inspired. Is it a magic bullet? No.