Tuesday 2 June 2015

Get your head into the game!

Using hypnosis to improve your sports performance

Whether you are a professional, competitive or recreational athlete, sports can be both mentally and physically rewarding and demanding.

Physical conditioning and practice are essential to succeeding in sports. Have you ever thought about how having the proper mindset helps to you prepare for success? Professional athletes and coaches have touted the benefits of mental coaching. This holds true for world class performers and for aspiring athletes.

When you mentally rehearse your sports you can improve your real life performance.   For example, a gymnast might envision the perfect routine or a basketball player might practice the “3 point shot” in his mind until his technique is just right, or a marathon runner might visualize the feeling of getting a burst of energy as he is approaching the finish line.   As you mentally practice the techniques of your sport, it actually becomes easier for you to execute those techniques when you need them!   It is well known that some hypnosis clients actually experience sore muscles after a session, just as if they were actually doing the sport. You may be asking yourself, “so how does this work?” 

The hypnotist speaks directly to your subconscious mind. This part of the mind is the bridge between conditioned mental responses and physiological outcomes. It connects the instincts, reflexes and habits to overt behavior.   Instead of having to take time to think about what you should do in each situation, the reactions flow naturally and instinctively. These instinctive reactions can save you split seconds and make the difference between a win and a loss. 
Hypnosis offers several other advantages beyond assisting with mental rehearsal. It can help you decrease negative thoughts, such as “what if I don’t play my best”, “I am going to let my teammates down” “how can I go up against this other player?” These of self-defeating thoughts could lead to disaster at a critical moment. Similarly, you can use hypnosis to reduce or remove performance anxiety, sometimes called “choking under pressure”. Hypnosis can help in increasing concentration and focus. It can also relieve you of fears or negative associations that can occur during a game and result in holding you back (e.g. “the last time I tried the slap shot, I hit a player with the puck; I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I just won’t shoot as hard anymore”). Finally, the hypnotist can help you cope with pain or discomfort thereby enabling you to reach you goals. 

Hypnosis has great potential in helping athletes reach their peak performance by unlocking the mental aspects of their game. It is appropriate in many competitive situations such as, the chess player wishing to maintain focus and concentration to the solo athlete who seeks to surpass their best performance (e.g. swimming, fencing, golf martial arts, bowling), and can include the athlete in wanting to enhance their contribution to their team (e.g. baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, ringette, dancing). Many professional athletes have used hypnosis as part of their coaching arsenal. These  include Troy Aikman, Tiger Woods, Scott Mitchell (darts player),  George Brett, Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins right fielder Tony Oliva and third baseman Eric Soderholm Chicago White Sox first baseman Tom Paciorek and former Detroit Tiger Damion Easley, and this is just a small sample of professionals who have used it. 

If you are looking to bring your game to the next level or to get over mental blocks, it might be time to consider using hypnosis. You can use it for yourself or with your whole team at once. A small investment of time may give you the competitive edge you are looking for.

About the author

Derrick Barnes, RSW Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, uses the latest techniques and evidence based research to help you focus on reaching your goals. His approach combines coaching techniques, solution-focused brief hypnotherapy and mindfulness. Even though Derrick focuses on future successes and not past challenges, he will, upon request, offer various other services such as past life regression or energy work.

No comments:

Post a Comment