There is NO substitute for extraordinary fitness to play in competitive team sports. Of course skill work is imperative, but once your fitness level deteriorates so does your skill.
If an athlete does not have the fitness or skill necessary for a sport, no amount of hypnosis will help them. Hypnosis is not a panacea or an easy way out.
Most of the athletes I work with have a supreme level of fitness and skill; their minds, however, CAN lack in mental conditioning. This is by no means a negative connotation, it is merely a lack of experiential coping mechanisms.
Having said this, I also see hardened veterans who display a lack of confidence. There is a myriad of physiological reasons why an athlete has performance blues, and that is why no hypnosis session can be treated in the same way.
Every person has the ability to experience hypnosis. When I facilitate the process, it is still self -hypnosis and cannot happen unless the individual wants to participate.
All Hypnosis is Self Hypnosis
Of all the players I met in my life, Ben Gollings was the most fascinated by self development. His leadership and influence for his team was profound in the 2009 World Rugby 7s Championships. New Zealand had never beaten at home. England, down by 20 points at half time with a capacity crowd watching in Wellington, rose to the occasion led by Ben’s confidence went on to to win.
I asked some of the other players about what was said at half time. By their accounts, Ben Gollings was SO sure they were going to win the game that every player was persuaded to his conviction. They told me they never doubted him, it was as if it was a given.
Your sense of self, your emotional balance can have a profound effect on others.
Considerable amounts of time are given to skills and fitness training, how much of your time is allocated to mental conditioning?
“Barry is a magician with the human mind” Marianne Berglund PhD Former World Champion 10 times National Champion, and two-times Olympic cyclist.
Barry, thank you so much for working with the women’s volleyball team. Students definitely experienced a new level of consciousness and mental preparation for an intercollegiate volleyball match. This new awareness and ability to practice positive visualisation will benefit them in areas other than competitive sports. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and expertise with the womens volleyball team Teri Mc Farland Womens Head Volleyball Coach Palomar College, San Diego.
Dear Barry, I want to extend my personal thanks for your presentation on hypnosis and performance to the Golden Gate Triathlon Club. You were both informative and highly entertaining and captured the interest of the 100 plus GGTC athletes who want to maximise their potential. Your methods were legitimized to all of us when we witnessed the likes of Terry Schneider-Egger under hypnosis, who correlated her Ironman successes to this process. I would also like welcome you back to the bay area to speak again, perhaps at our end of the year banquet. I look forward seeing you soon. Sincerely Todd S. Greenhalgh GGTC President San Francisco.
Dear Barry, I just wanted to write you a quick note of thanks. Your presentation at SCATS gymnastics was HIGHLY informative and captured the interest of my gymnasts. I have been working with my athletes for over a year in hypnosis/relaxation techniques, and they have had their doubts on how it worked until today. They still keep talking about what they experienced. A couple of my athletes who always visualized a fall on the beam, are able to complete a routine under self-hypnosis without a fault. This had definitely reflected in very positive training sessions. If you ever come into our area to speak again, please stop in. Sincerely Taunia Rogers, SCATS Head Coach, Huntington Beach, California.
Dear Barry, I wanted to thank you for working with the Palomar College Basketball College Basketball team and to inform you of the results of your endeavours. After the hypnosis sessions and concentration workshops that you administered, our coaching staff recognised a significant improvement in our players ability to played relaxed in pressure situations. As we discussed before your workshops, our team was not shooting free throws nearly as well as most college basketball teams. Before your workshops our team free throw percentages was 64.28. In the weeks following the workshop, our team free throw percentage was 78.68. As a coach I know that free throw shooting is technique, concentration and relaxation. Your work with our athletes significantly increased their ability to concentrate and relax. A side benifit of your work with our team has been their ability to concentrate and study. All five of our sophomores on the team received their degrees from Palomar College and full scholarships to four-year universities. This is remarkable when you consider that many of our players are from high risk environments. I sincerely believe that your workshops on concentration helped these student -athletes be more successful. I appreciate your time and energies and look forward to working with you in the future. Richard C Johnson Men’s Basketball Coach Palomar College, San Diego.
Dear Barry, Certainly, I firmly believe that one can enhance their performance with hypnosis. I only wish I could convince “all” my athletes that it really works. What you do though is to get them thinking about it. Too bad you’re not on staff———imagine? Thank you again for helping make our team one of the Nation’s best Lynn Rogers Head Gymnastics Coach California State University, Fullerton.
How does hypnosis work to improve performance? In this case I am looking at one of its uses for improving swimming technique. Generally, hypnosis can be applied to any focus in which one feels that re-programming our brain would be beneficial to performance.
I swam from an early age, and like many kids, I never really learned how to swim correctly. Only when I took up triathlons did I realize how inefficient my swimming was.
Triathlons were in their infancy when I began competing. My first race was a sprint; my second was the Ironman in Hawaii.
So, let's look at where hypnosis and visualization helped me.
One of my many problems was a nonexistent streamlined body position. Technically this was due to lack of rotation around my central axis, which led to a myriad of other mechanical problems. I powered my way through the water to make up for it.
I had an extensive teaching/coaching background in swimming and was very good at helping everybody else; however, I could not see the issue with my own technique. I hired a coach. Video analysis of my stroke revealed all.
Mechanically, I understood what my body should be doing, streamlined as illustrated in the photo. Mine was flat! Not completely flat, but not far from it!
Do you remember the idiom, ‘Practice makes perfect?’ Like many athletes, I recognised that I had been taught/coached incorrectly. My incorrect motor patterns became entrenched in my memory banks. I am not saying that you cannot change them… but the longer you spend practicing anything incorrectly, the harder it is going to be for you to undo those mistakes.
Without realising the inefficiency of my stroke, I opted for ‘practice makes perfect’ by putting in many perfectly incorrect miles. I developed great muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Unfortunately, the incorrect technique was counterproductive; contributing to further muscle imbalance.
Counting how many strokes it took for me to swim one length, was one of my coach’s earliest lessons. The number wasn’t impressive! After just one coaching session, that included exhausting drills, I reduced that number by a third. Quite a dramatic change but I could only do it for one length. The signals from my brain to my muscle were getting confused. “Wait a minute now. We spent hours and hours doing it this way and now you want us to CHANGE?” my unhappy motor nerves complained.
Making them happy meant changing deeply embedded motor signals. Now this is where the self-hypnosis/visualisation comes into play.
During self-hypnosis, you can replicate the mechanics of the movement BY VISUALIZING THE DRILLS. In turn, this ‘practice’ re-educates the muscles at an accelerated rate …without even getting in the water. Sounds too good to be true, but all hypnosis does is create a point of focus. Imagine how a magnifying glass focuses the sun’s rays to intensify its heat. Your attention is the focus physically intensifying the new behaviour into your neuronal pathways.
For review, or for greater understanding, see the links below.
A Review of the Development of Sport Hypnosis as a Performance Enhancement Method for Athletes
Improving Sports Performance using Hypnosis, Mental Imagery and Self-talk
Like any skill development, the process of self-hypnosis receptiveness is a personal journey. Some people must work a little harder than others, but everybody can experience profound accelerated change with practice.
Barry Jones MSc