Anyone who caught the most recent Winter Olympics may have noticed an interesting sort of dance taking place among the downhill skiers waiting for their shot on the slopes. The Olympians would stand, with their eyes closed, and wave their arms in an undulating motion, their head and body rocking from side to side. No, they weren't in the throes of religious rapture or rocking to a hidden iPod; they were visualizing the course. Sports coaches throughout the years have touted the power of visualization and its impact on the performance of their athletes. The same techniques could be used to improve your poker game.
Visualization in this case does not refer to picturing yourself seated at a table with stacks of chips in front of you and clouds of smoke over your head obscuring the bright lights of the casino -- although this certainly wouldn't hurt. In this instance visualization refers to the technique of picturing starting cards and practicing what to do when you see them. Your mind may not bring up a photographic picture of an eight of hearts and a two of diamonds, but however you see it the visualization techniques should teach you to toss the hand.
Visualization, along with repetition, will help train your brain to know what to do in different circumstances with different starting hands in the game of Texas Hold'em. Knowing what to do in advance gives you a sense of peace and confidence, two things that will go a long way towards keeping you relaxed and focused on the game at hand. As you likely know, poker is all about making the right decisions. And practicing making those decisions ahead of time is just smart poker.