How can I use imagery to improve performance

Mental imagery is the practice of seeing “in your mind’s eye” how you want to perform a skill, as if you were actually doing it. You can use it for just about any task, such as improving your Army Combat Fitness Test ACFT score (even if you’re sidelined with an injury), marksmanship, or giving a brief. Also, watching others can boost learning even more than mental imagery by itself because you’re observing what you’d actually like to do rather than coming up with images in your mind.

Service member using breath to optimize performance Imagery to manage pain, optimize performance and more... Learn More

Use this worksheet to create a personalized imagery script for a specific event or task. To learn more about how you can use mental imagery to improve your performance, read HPRC’s articles about how imagery can improve your fitness and how to imagine your way to better performance.

Published on: October 30, 2020

CHAMP wants to know:
How useful was the information in this article?

Blackwell, S. E., Rius-Ottenheim, N., Schulte-van Maaren, Y. W. M., Carlier, I. V. E., Middelkoop, V. D., Zitman, F. G., . . . Giltay, E. J. (2013). Optimism and mental imagery: A possible cognitive marker to promote well-being? Psychiatry Research, 206(1), 56–61. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2012.09.047

Chung, G. K. W. K., Nagashima, S. O., Espinosa, P. D., Berka, C., & Baker, E. L. (2009). The influence of cognitive and non-cognitive factors on the development of rifle marksmanship skills. Retrieved 1 July 2020 from

Fitzwater, J. P. J., Arthur, C. A., & Hardy, L. (2018). “The tough get tougher”: Mental skills training with elite military recruits. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 7(1), 93–107. doi:10.1037/spy0000101

Kossert, A. L., & Monroe-Chandler, K. (2007). Exercise imagery: A systematic review of the empirical literature. Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity, 2(1). doi:10.2202/1932-0191.1015

Williams, S. E., Cooley, S. J., Newell, E., Weibull, F., & Cumming, J. (2013). Seeing the difference: Developing effective imagery scripts for athletes. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 4(2), 109–121. doi:10.1080/21520704.2013.781560