Not all guitar practice is equal. On one end of the scale we have totally distracted and on the other we have flow. To be in a flow state means to be performing almost effortlessly and with near perfection. I think everyone has experienced flow at one time or another in some area of their life. The problem for most of us is it’s usually very rare and occurs when we least expect it. Top level performers on the other hand, seem to be able to get into flow whenever required.. The way the do it is by following a well rehearsed routine. This same idea can be applied to your guitar practice. Even if you don’t reach actual flow, you will still be in a better state for practice resulting in better outcomes. Here are 3 ways to mentally prepare for your practice and hopefully experience flow more often.
Imagine your future self
Take a few minutes to close your eyes and see yourself as you hope to be in a few years from now. Feel how good it will feel. Expand the positives images of being an accomplished guitarist. Who will be there? What will they say? Creating positive images will give your practice more meaning, motivating you to take more action with greater determination and purpose.
Follow a ritual
I remember reading about how many of the world’s best performers follow a daily ritual before practice or training. Michael Phelps the swimmer for example follows the same ritual before every training session and every race. When we follow a ritual or routine we train our minds to get into a particular state. If you practice 60 mins a day try starting with a 10 minute ritual first and then practicing for 50 mins. Chances are you’ll be much more productive.
Visualise your practice
Sports players do this all the time. They imagine themselves executing difficult manoeuvres with precision before going through the motions. Imagine just for a few minutes what a good practice session looks like. See yourself in that flow state where everything is perfect. Spend a minute on each of the 7 essential skills. This mental preparation will prime you for a successful practice session and if you are lucky, you’ll reach a state of flow.