Athletes both amateur and serious often look for anything that will give them an edge over their competition, and to help them perform to the best of their ability. Hypnosis and imagery have been used by a large number athletes to help them improve their game or their performance in a wide variety of sports.
Sport’s Psychology and Hypnotherapy
The idea of mental factors being just as important as physical factors has been around for a great many years. Sports psychology as been around for nearly 100 years and hypnotherapy is now a widely recognised, completely legitimate form of performance booster. It has proven to be effective in helping athletes bring about positive change, develop new habits and behaviors, and release unhealthy or unproductive emotions, habits and behaviours in order to get the most out of their performance. Many well-known athletes have worked with hypnotherapists to achieve significant gains in their personal performance, regardless of their sport (golfer Tiger Woods, boxer Kevin McBride, basketball player Michael Jordan and US Olympic athlete Mary Lou Retton to name a few from across the “Pond”.
Sports psychology and sports hypnosis are largely intertwined as they both work with behaviour and the unconscious mind to varying degrees. Generally speaking, sports psychology looks to make small changes and improvements over a long period, whereas Sports Hypnosis achieves major changes over a far shorter time scale. Sports Hypnosis can therefore be said to be much more effective in obtaining fast results. In fact a lot of the most effective techniques (such as visualisation) used in Sports psychology are themselves forms of hypnosis.
Sports hypnosis works directly with the subconscious mind. This is the part of the mind that controls our actions and behaviours, so changes are affected quickly. This can be very useful for sports people who need to get in the “zone” before and during the time in which they compete.
How Can Hypnosis and CBH Help?
As the unconscious mind is very much the driving force between most of our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors, it makes sense to use a technique which can elicit change at the unconscious level as this can be very effective. Hypnosis can be an incredibly useful technique.
Hypnosis can help you overcome issues of worry, fear, stress or self-doubt which may be keeping you from moving onto the next level of performance. It can help you hone your skills, fine-tune a technique, and have an increased level of self-belief and confidence which will enable you to excel beyond that which you previously thought possible. Hypnosis can also help you acquire the intense focus required to be at the top of your chosen sport. Hypnosis can help you overcome performance anxiety or pre-event nerves and jitters which can make the difference between completing that race, climbing that mountain, winning that game or whatever else it is you want to achieve.
Imagery (or visualization) is an effective self-hypnosis technique which can help athletes perform better. A climber may visualize herself going through every movement of a climb over and over in her mind. A hockey player might visualize himself making a perfect pass or shot hundreds of times and a cyclist or runner might visualise himself breaking through a wall or completing a race. By using imagery or visualization, these athletes are conditioning their minds (and so their bodies too) to carry out the movements in reality just as they have performed them hundreds of times in their minds.
Athletes have been reported to use imagery and visualization just before their event to achieve their desired goal. By closing your eyes and focusing on achieving your desired goal, it is possible to improve your performance. Once you have pictured it in your mind you can more easily go on to do it. Utilizing this technique is especially beneficial when the sport requires a brief burst of energy.
Another way that hypnosis can help athletes is in dealing with pain and injuries. Learning to dissociate from the pain can help you better cope with it and perform in spite of it. Relaxation methods can also be particularly helpful when it comes to managing pain or breaking through a pain barrier which can be an issue in many sports. Hypnosis can also help athletes recover more quickly from a sports injury. By accelerating the recovery time the athlete can return to practice and competition more quickly, which can be very important for competitive athletes.
How I Can Help You To Improve Your Performance
Even if you are not training for a major event, I can help you attain higher levels of performance in whatever your chosen sport is. I will tailor a programme to suit your needs and maximise your performance. You will likely find your performance improving much more than you thought possible!
I use a tailor-made skills-based approach to target the specific areas of your sports performance that are causing concern, or to feel as though you aren’t performing perhaps as well as you could. We’ll use a variety of visualisation techniques and well evidence sports psychology techniques to address any issues you are having, So whether you need to
- restore and build your confidence;
- improve your motivation for training and/or competing;
- manage your competition anxiety;
- control your arousal levels;
- stop your negative self-talk;
- improve your focus and concentration;
- create solid training and performance goals;
- develop sports-specific routines for whatever your chosen sport is;
- help to prepare for competitions; or
- overcome your injuries or pain.
We can work together to formulate a treatment specific to your goals and provide you with the right tools to greatly improve your performance and get you to where you want to be. I will teach you not only relaxation and visualisation techniques but also mindfulness to help you get control of your mind and improve your performance. I will help you to establish a working model of useful techniques to use to fundamentally, positively and permanently change the way you behave, think, act and react when you’re striving for the goal you want in your chosen sport. My aim is to equip you with the skills and techniques to improve your performance not only during your on-going treatment but more importantly for your future activities, events and competitions.
Contact me today to arrange a free 20 minute chat or book an initial consultation.