What can't actors use some of the same techniques as athletes?
I recently read an article in The New York Times ("Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training") about how athletes use imagery as part of their preparation for competition. They visualize their best performance.
Actors often spend a lot of time going over their auditions AFTER they've happened. They will endlessly repeat in their minds (or their mirrors) how the audition went, rejoicing over what felt good and crying over what felt bad. Why can't actors go over their auditions in their minds BEFORE they happen, not after, and visualize the perfect audition? Won't that increase the odds of having a great audition?
How can this work in practice? You don't know who will be in the room, what they will say, how they will read the lines, what the room will look like, etc. How can you visualize the perfect audition when there are so many variables you don't know about.
Well, you can break the audition down into different sections and imagine different possibilities. What if the CD is super friendly? What if she's abrupt and rude? What if the room is warm? What if it's cold? What if there's nowhere to sit in the waiting room. What if all there are are overstuffed chairs and sofas? What if the CD asks "Do you have any questions?" What will you say? What will you do if they call you in as soon as you get there? Or what if you have to wait an hour?
The more you imagine different possibilities and how you successfully handle them, the more prepared you will be for any another unforeseen option that might happen. If you're not happy with how you visualized walking into the room, do it again. The magic of visualization is that you have as many chances as you want!
What you shouldn't do as part of this visualization process is practice saying the lines how you think they should be said. Visualization should be done in your head. Of course, there is time for rehearsal where you actually say the words out loud. But this is something different and more internal. It about how you psychologically can handle the audition process in the best way possible so that you can do your best work.