Did you know that watching professional athletes playing your sport is great mental training for you? And did you know that even the pros watch other pros?
When you love the game and are committed to your craft as an athlete, you’ll naturally want to see how the elite perform. It’s not only inspiring, but it’s educational. Coaches have their teams watch videos of professional athletes all the time as their athletes can take away many valuable lessons from watching how the best of the best perform their craft.
It’s vital for young athletes to watch pro games. All athletes of any sport can learn a lot from watching people who do it professionally.
Watching professional athletes play connects us to the point that we almost feel like we are actually playing in the game. You begin to imagine yourself in the player’s shoes. According to Dr. Jesse Hanson, clinical director of the Helix Healthcare Group, ““This phenomenon allows a feeling of connection, and community without verbal communication or the need to directly talk to the pro athlete who just won the World Series with a grand slam.”
Studies have observed that when we witness a familiar action, our mirror neurons activate allowing us to immediately understand the action, its goal, and the emotions associated with it.
Watching your favorite pro athletes play builds confidence. When a young athlete watches their idol play, they start to memorize that athlete’s signature moves. The athlete begins to not only fantasize about moving like their favorite player, but they start to actually practice those moves in the hopes that they can be as fast, as agile, as skilled.
Confidence is essential in sports. And when an athlete sees their favorite professional athletes perform these moves, they know that it is possible and something that they can attain if the practice enough.
But beyond the confidence that watching pro athletes play brings, there’s plenty to learn from watching pro games. It puts the young athletes in a state of mind for competition.
Watching sports regularly stimulates the different areas of the brain, improving neurological function. In fact, a 2008 study revealed that being an athlete or a fan improves language skills. When it comes to discussing sports, parts of the brain that are used while playing sports are also being used to understand sports language.
All sports require reaction, planning, and strategy. Our thinking and visualizing abilities are given a boost when we watch a game. So even when we’re not actively playing in the game we are watching, our brain is.