What happens when we train for athletic performance in dreams?
Studies about improving athletic performance revealed that specific mental states characterized outstanding athletes: calmness, self-confidence, optimism, being present in the moment, high energy, awareness of their surroundings, a sense of control and connection to one’s strengths and skills. In other words, the athletes were as prepared for their tasks on a spiritual and mental level as they were on a physical level. (LaBerge, 1990).
Studies about the power of visualization in training have become common and have proven that new skills can be learned, to a certain degree, through the use of imagination alone. Lucid dreaming is a powerful tool when it comes to mental imagery. On the sensory level, imagination used while we are awake is quite weak. The realness of the dream, which leads us to believe that it is in fact reality, turns mental imagination in the dream world into the clearest and most vivid kind. The more real the mental training of a skill seems, the more effective it is. Another advantage of physical training in lucid dreams stems from the body’s physiological state. In the REM state, it is possible to create synaptic connections without physically moving the body. (LaBerge, 1990).
Sports psychologist Paul Tholey conducted pioneering studies using lucid dreams to train athletes. According to Tholey, if people have the basic ability to perform a task, their ability can improve significantly and they can even adopt new motor sensor abilities. He also recommends that athletes who engage in high-risk sports train for emergency situations in lucid dreams. (LaBerge, 1990).