I am a teacher of literature and shooting sport enthusiast and imagination/ mental imagery is helpful in both the pursuits. The sense of vision is the easiest to imagine and the sense of smell is the most difficult one. I also understand that what one has not experienced first hand is difficult to imagine. In shooting sport, the sight picture- the aiming of weapon at target centre with perfect alignment of fore and back sights of the gun- is often imagined outside the shooting range. The more you imagine a perfect sight picture, the better your performance becomes in course of time.
Imagining a large shooting range with audience gallery, the mixture of sounds from weapons, music system, audience, the different weather conditions, wind flow that causes concern about bullet flight path deviation, the smell of cordite and shutting off your mind against all these and focusing on the sight picture, feeling the weapon against your body and slowly squeezing the trigger to release a shot, can be very beneficial.
I do this as often as I can and also encourage young shooters to do so.