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Simulation seeks to make your training environment as similar to the competition environment as possible.

While imagery relies on use of imagination, simulation relies on manipulation of the training environment by actually recreating the stresses under which you will perform.

Effectively, you can consider normal training only to train muscles and nerve pathways directly involved in the control of muscles. Imagery is a good way of training these nerve pathways in the brain, as well as those related to performance and sports psychology. It does not train muscles and body nerves nearly as effectively.

Simulation, however, seeks to train all parts of your brain and body by helping you to physically perform the skills being trained under a physical environment that recreates all the stresses and distractions of competition. This helps you to develop the mental skills that stop you 'choking under pressure' - stress management, distraction management, goal focus and imagery. It enables you to actually feel that you have been in a novel situation before.

Military training uses simulation in exactly the same way to teach soldiers to handle the intense psychological stresses of combat.


Aspects of Simulation

You can try introducing the following stresses into a training session to make a practice as realisitic as possible: If you simulate conditions that are much worse than the real conditions under which you will perform, then you will have the following advantages:

You can also use simulation, in the form of role-play to handle non-sporting stresses associated with performance, such as press interviews, etc.

While only top athletes may have the resources to use all aspects of simulation in their training sessions, you should be able to use some aspects effectively to help you prepare to give maximum performance under difficult physical and psychological conditions.

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