Visualisation with Jordan Burroughs and Ai Ueda

The London 2012 Olympic wrestling gold medallist and the two-time Asian triathlon champion show how they use visualisation to improve their performance.

By Olympic Channel

Visualisation is one of the three techniques in the Olympic State of Mind, the Bridgestone Olympic Channel experience which helps you be the best version of yourself.

Forming a mental image of what you want to do, or how you wish to carry out parts of your performance, can help you focus on what you need to do in order to reach your goals.

From familiarising yourself with the competition venue to wearing your team uniform, there are a number of ways to help you visualise what you hope to achieve.

Wrestling - Jordan Burroughs

After disappointment at Rio 2016, Jordan Burroughs dedicated himself to improving his performance physically and mentally.

An Olympic champion at London 2012, the American showed he could return to the peak by winning his fourth world title in 2017.

Burroughs has a wide range of visualisation exercises he employs to get the best out of himself, and tends to use them when he is struggling in training.

He said, "It typically lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. I really depend on it late in training sessions, when you start to get really fatigued and that voice in your head tells you to quit. But you recognise that your opponent is working just as hard if not outworking you at that moment.

"You have to really draw on something internally to finish out that workout and really draw on something that is going be helpful so you can make it happen and be prepared for that match-up."

Burroughs also believes in not thinking about victory, preferring to only 'think about the performance'.

He adds, "Visualisation for me is about being your best self. If you can put yourself in a position where you can wrestle an entire six minutes, you can get through the match-up, you don't concede any points, you're strong, you're tough, and you're willing to fight through every position, you will be victorious. And if not, you will have no regrets because you performed at your best."

Triathlon - Ai Ueda

With a total of six titles at the Asian Championships and two gold medals from the 2014 Asian Games, Ai Ueda is known as the 'Iron Girl' in Japan.

Now 36, she has been consistently successful over a long period of time with her first Asian crown coming back in 2005.

While she has suffered dips in form, Ueda has always managed to bounce back to the top of the podium.

After ending a triathlon victory drought of 30 months in October 2018, Ueda went on to have a spectacular 2019 including four ITU World Cup wins and her fifth individual Asian title.

Self-belief is one thing Ueda has in abundance and she told Olympic Channel, "It's probably going to be difficult to achieve your goals if you don't have personal faith in your own potential."

She also uses visualisation to help her in her pursuit of excellence and says one should "understand the value of a smile".

"Visualise the joy you'll feel when you make it happen. Keep a smile on your face in the good times and bad. A smile is something you can always manage to pull off.

"Use that smile to turn the people offering support around you into allies. It's great when you can create this flow together and the people who were with you at each step can share in your victory."

Visualise success with Olympic State of Mind

The Olympic State of Mind experience is live on Olympic Channel and features fellow Team Bridgestone athlete ambassadors P.V. Sindhu, Allyson Felix, Thomas Rohler, and Ariarne Titmus.

There are video clips to help your journey through motivation, mindfulness, and visualisation, plus a special edition of the Olympic Channel Podcast.