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Unit 36 – Visualisation

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

The following passages about Visualization have been adapted from Mind Games – Inspiratioal Lessons from the World’s Finest Sports Stars by Jeff Grout and Sarah Perrin


Passage 1
Visualization is an important element of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP trainer Graham Shaw explains that the reason why visualization works from an NLP perspective is that the mind doesn’t actually know the difference between a real or an imagined experience.
Shaw recalls a story told him by his skiing instructor. A man turned up for a ski course a year after attending the previous one – but he had vastly improved during the year’s gap. The instructor asked him where he had been skiing and he had found that he could remember the route he used to ski down. He told the instructor he’d skied down it a hundred times in his head. Of course, in his head, he had skied it perfectly. According to Shaw, if we imagine an experience powerfully enough, we have the opportunity to programme our minds to do something successfully every time.
Shaw says that one of the ways visualization helps athletes is by creating positive ‘filters’. Everyone automatically creates their own filters through which they view the world. These filters can be supportive or limiting, depending on the individual’s past experiences and response to those experiences.


1. Based on the information provided in Passage 1, a person who creates positive, supporting filters through which they view the world could be described as:

  • A      an optimist
  • B      a realist
  • C      a fascist
  • D      a polytheist


Passage 2
In life we experience the world in different ways, so we create our own mental maps. We create pictures and sounds in our minds, self-talk, and feelings that are all component parts of our internal experience. In NLP we call that your “map”. One of the reasons people often don’t communicate well is because they’re on different maps. We filter the world and our experiences and create different maps. This means we don’t notice everything. If two people see the same film they might notice different bits or the music would have different effects on them. How does that apply to sport?
Say two people decide to learn tennis. Player number one has begun to talk to himself about learning tennis. He turns up for his lesson and he’s already said to himself in his mind 100 times “I was never any good at tennis at school, therefore I can’t learn tennis. I was always last in the running race and I’m no good at sports.” Even before he begins his lesson he’s got a set of filters on the world; it’s as if he’s put a special pair of glasses on and he sees everything through those. He starts the tennis lesson and hits three balls over the net and seven into the net.
Another player comes along who has never played tennis. He thinks, “I’ve learned a lot of other stuff and I can’t see why I can’t learn this.” He also hits seven balls into the net and three over. He says to himself, “I’ve hit three balls over already. I wonder if I can get five over? Perhaps I can learn this.”


2. A suitable alternative to the metaphor of the ‘mental map’ in Passage 2 would be:

  • A      A ray of light
  • B      A lens
  • C      A mirror
  • D      An image


Question 3 refers to both passages


3. Comparing the story of the skiier to the story of the tennis players, which of the following statements could be said to be true?

  • A      Both provide anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of visualization
  • B      One attempts to illustrate how visualization works, the other doesn’t
  • C      One shows the physical benefits of visualization, the other doesn’t
  • D      One is hypothetical the other is theoretical
  • Q1:A
    An optimist is someone who has a positive outlook on life. Another way of expressing this would be to say that they view life through a positive lens or filter.
    A fascist is a person who believes in the political ideologies of fascism.
    A realist in terms of NLP, would be someone who attempts to see life as it is, without any bias or psychological filters.
    A polytheist is someone who believes in multiple different Gods.

    Q2: D
    “We filter the world and our experiences and create different maps.”
    The image, like the map, is a product of the filters. It can be seen from different angles and will appear differently to different people.
    Light rays refract or reflect on lenses and mirrors to create images.

    Q3: C
    The second example of the tennis players demonstrates no physical benefit of visualization. Both players share the same outlook, but do equally well at hitting balls over the net. The difference between them is psychological. The second example is not anecdotal either, as it is not a story, it is a hypothetical example of what might happen. Both attempt to explain different aspects of how and why visualisation works. One is hypothetical, the other is anecdotal (the skier)

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    June 16, 2012

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