Q: On several occasions you have noted the value of visualizing a lap around a track. I have been a “visualizer” for years. It started when I was pole vaulting in high school and it has carried through to just about every sport (and other activities) I have taken part in over the years. I had a thought and realization recently that I never considered before. Where are you located when you visualize a lap on a track? I realized I was not in the car, I am about 5 feet above the rear of the car. Unless I make a concerted effort to “look” from inside the car, outside and above is where I “observe” the lap from. I am still going through the “motions” of shifting, braking, steering, etc., and feeling the dynamics. But I am just not in the car. I would be curious if you (or others) have thought about this, and what is your “vantage point” when visualizing a lap. Isn’t it odd the things that come to mind sometimes?!
A: From my own experience, and from talking to hundreds/thousands of drivers about visualizing, you’re not alone. It seems that some drivers see from the driver’s perspective, some like you see it from just above, and some drivers see themselves as if they’re watching through a TV camera. I’ve read research that suggests that it’s best to do some mental imagery from all views, but in the end it’s best to do it directly from the participant’s perspective.
I think this is something that takes practice, like the development of any skill. I used to always visualize from the TV camera view, but deliberately practiced seeing myself from the driver’s view, and it’s changed how I do mental imagery now. It took some time, but my default is now seeing myself from the driver’s seat.
My wife says, “everyone is weird, there are no exceptions” (hmmm… I wonder why she looks at me while saying that!). I guess that relates to what you said in terms of it being “odd” – we’re all “odd” to some extent! Especially those of us who drive around squiggly circles on race tracks!!!
I do have more information on this in the Mental Imagery Guide eBook that is available at https://speedsecrets.com/ebooks. In fact, there is all sorts of advice to help you use visualization more effectively in it.