Legal Law

Association and Dissociation – Mind Play for Cricket

Association and Dissociation – Mind Play for Cricket

“When I cross the boundary line, that’s the only time I feel like I’m in total control.”

-Dickie Bird

This is where you can use your imagination or visualization skills, because when you recall or mentally rehearse something, you do so by association or dissociation. Association means reliving an event as if it were really happening to you, seeing through your own eyes, hearing sounds through your own ears, and feeling all the physical and emotional feelings. Dissociation is noticing the situation as if you were seeing yourself, like in a movie or on stage. As you become more detached from the situation, there is less emotional impact, as this is where you want to be if it is a troubling event.

Which of these two exercises feels more natural to you? Think of a time when you had a bad game. How did you feel? As you remember it, are you looking at it through your own eyes or are you seeing yourself as if you were in a movie? How about a great game? How are you seeing that? How do you feel about that? Remember the bad game. If you’re associated, seeing through your own eyes, walk away from that to see yourself on film. Do your emotions feel less? If you feel worse when you disassociate, then associate. If you agree with the dissociation, keep it, there is no need to associate it with a bad memory. Now go back to that great game you played. Are you associated or dissociated? If you are associated, notice how the senses are dissociated from the way you feel. Likewise, if you are dissociated, notice the impact when you associate.

You can also use association and dissociation for mental rehearsal. Think of an important match coming up, perhaps a cup competition. Imagine watching you play. There are a few things you need to keep in mind. In addition to noticing how your body moves, be aware of any emotions that may be going on inside your body. Spend some time on this exercise and look at ‘you’ from all perspectives, front, side, back and up. Then repeat the exercise associating it. Be there inside your body as if it were really happening. See everything you would see, listen to all the sounds around the ground, and include any positive words you would say to yourself. Feel everything both physically and emotionally. How was that?

Every time you hit and get into your 90s nervously, your nerves get the better of you. Your thoughts become distractions, you can back up and take your eyes off the ball. Psychologically, it is becoming a problem for you as you keep replaying missed opportunities in your mind. Here is a visualization you can try. Players in other positions can adapt this for themselves. First, remember or visualize yourself sitting in the pavilion (associated) during a game, watching yourself in the middle approaching your century (dissociated). What encouragement and advice would you give to that ‘you’ who is hitting? Let that mental movie run as you look at yourself and stop at the point where you would normally be thrown or caught. Being dissociated, this should help you remember the moment without the negative emotional content. Freeze the frame of that image. This is where you can have fun. Play with the image. If it’s in color, turn it into black and white. If it’s clear, blur. It is brilliant? If so, make it dim. Change the sounds, make them quieter. Change the location of any noise. Change any feeling. Rewind. Start the movie again in all its glory; this time team up to be there and speed everything up to the point just before you exit. Now play the movie at normal speed and adjust as much as you like, which will turn the ending into a hook or a sweep while continuing to send the ball flying over the edge. Celebrate your success, feel how good scoring your century will feel, feel the pride. Disassociate now and return to the pavilion for you to associate and applaud. Give positive and helpful feedback.

Repeat that visualization several times a day until it feels like a real memory. Remember, for most people, dissociating from the memory of a bad event reduces any emotion, giving it less power, while associating with a positive scenario brings up pleasant memories and emotions. It will boost your confidence.