Athletes began to use leading-edge techniques like mental rehearsal and focused concentration years before the general public had even heard of them. In the early days, we weren't sure then how these techniques worked, but we knew they did. Jack Nicklaus, for example, said that he would "watch a movie" in his head before each shot.
These days, thanks to many researchers, we know more. Researchers at the University of Texas monitored people's brain activities as they performed various body movements and also as they imagined performing the movements. They found that the actual physical movement consistently involved the interaction of several specific areas of the brain. Imagining the movement activated those same areas of the brain. In other words, mental rehearsal of an action puts the mind through a neural workout that is very much like the real thing.
So whether you're trying to break your own personal best record in a sport or sell a new car to an ambivalent customer, mental rehearsal, or visualisation, can help you prepare for peak performance by walking you through successful strategies and potential pitfalls.