Hypnosis and Sports

Sports Hypnosis is a growing field in the United States and around the world. Athletes are keenly aware that so much of their performance is "In The Mind". Hypnosis sessions are a highly effective way to help athletes improve mental focus, tune out all distractions and visualize the outcome they desire. Hypnosis can provide that competitive advantage and allow you to get into that "ZONE" state of mind where everything is functioning at its peak with no conscious interference.

Mental conditioning through hypnosis can quickly help you rise to new heights in your performance and minimize distractions.


Sports performance hypnosis can help any athlete achieve their goals!

Sports psychology has been around since the 1950's, Russian Olympic teams were employing hypnotherapist to greatly enhance their athlete’s performances, and in modern day, sports hypnosis is a rapidly expanding area of interest throughout the entire world. Without any doubt, it is the mind that holds the determining factors over just about all of our performances and behavior, and so it is in mastering the mind, that the athlete has the greatest chance of performing at their best.

We have all heard statements like..."His mind's just not on the game today", Or perhaps, we might have known someone who excels at their sport when training, yet folds under the pressure of competition. There's a classic phrase in the game of pool, 'black ball pressure', which refers to how the last, and most important shot of the game can often cause the player to make a wild shot. Even though that player will be amazed afterwards that he could have missed something that was ordinarily easy.

So hypnosis can play a major role in helping the athlete prepare themselves mentally, and that preparation will typically include a whole package of approaches tailored to the athletes requirements and will nearly always include methods designed to: Overcome self-doubt, mental rehearsal, positive visualization, encourage rapid healing from any injury, increase confidence, increase motivation, increased concentration and focus, eliminate negativity, promote positive expectation, reduce performance anxiety, increase self belief, etc.!

EXAMPLESA professional basketball coach called upon a hypnotherapist to see if his team’s skill could be enhanced in any way. The hypnotherapist sat half of the team down, relaxed them, and instructed them to visualize throwing shot after successful shot, into the basket. Meanwhile, the other half of the team practiced their shooting for real. The coach noticed that the players who were simply visualizing throwing successful baskets, were displaying tiny micro-muscular movements in their arm and leg muscles, even though they were apparently relaxing. These movements were taking place because the players were actually establishing new neural pathways in their brains, encoding the mental/physical information needed to produce successful basket shots, directly into their muscles! After they had experienced this process several times over several days, the team had improved their actual basket shots by 50%, while the players that simply practiced shots at the basket, had barely improved.

One of the most famous examples of hypnosis and sports is the story of Rod Carew, one of American baseballs finest. Carew had suffered an injury which technically had healed but still left him with some pain (perhaps psychosomatic, but real enough to him), and an elevated sense of self-doubt. A hypnotherapist was consulted and worked with him. Carew then came back to the best season of his entire career, with a batting score of almost 400, and won 'The most valuable player award'!Hypnosis is not a magic bullet, it will not, and can not, turn a talent-less athlete into a superstar. It will however amplify the athlete's talent and abilities.Finally, all sports will require mental factors of strategy and concentration, which naturally involve the mind, and as hypnosis is a mind oriented approach, it can quite literally assist anyone and everyone, to get the best out of themselves!

WHAT THE MIND CAN DOWhat can be accomplished through the powers of the mind? Perhaps the most important thing is the development of a positive attitude. Negative thoughts pertaining to performance skills can be changed or eliminated. Performance of the sport will be enhanced to a major degree as skills improve to the point where intermittent incidents of poor performance no longer arouse feelings of discouragement, irritation or other detrimental emotional reactions. Concentration, coordination and technique can improve as well as awareness of proper form and posture. Sports enthusiasts face some stumbling blocks in their quest for perfection such as fear, and fear comes in many forms. Fear of failure is always restrictive and is very common in sports as is its hidden partner, fear of success - an apprehension that success can create the expectation of further improvement. Fear of humiliation can also be very strong. Competition can produce sensations of intimidation resulting in deterioration of skills.

Hypnotherapy can work to reduce or eliminate the mental obstacles to peak performance in sports activities. This is an area where the truth of the phrase "What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve" becomes highly evident.

STEPS TO ACHIEVEMENTThe goal of hypnosis in athletics is to allow the athlete to develop the mental attitudes necessary to achieve their personal best to perform at their peak level.As with all hypnotic techniques, the first step must be Relaxation. Relaxation to a level appropriate for the planting of positive hypnotic suggestions is not merely resting, but a much deeper level.

Goal Settingis essential. Without a clear objective in mind, it is pointless to begin any task or project. Athletes, coaches, therapists or a combination thereof may set goals. It is important for goals to be specific, focused on the area where improvement is desired. "Playing better tennis" is not a specific goal. Improving one's serve or backhand is a specific goal.Goals must be short-term, achievable, and step-by-step so that both success and completion are experienced.

Concentrationis vitally important, and sometimes difficult to develop and maintain. Hypnotherapy has long been a very effective method of improving concentration abilities.

Distractions must be eliminated. Posthypnotic cues may prove useful in stimulating both concentration and specific skills. Visualization, not only in mental rehearsal but also at the moment of performance, can produce dramatic positive results.

Finally, Mental Rehearsalis the ultimate key to superior performance. It can prove more productive at times than actual physical practice. Imagery is not just visual in nature; it can include the other senses as well.In a diving competition, the form of the dive is visual, the smell of chlorine in the water is olfactory, the sensation of wetness is tactile, and the cheers of the crowd are auditory.Achieving perfection requires the use of all the senses during Hypnotherapy sessions.