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Beyond Performance Anxiety: Using Sports Hypnosis To Improve Sports Performance

July 9, 2016

Today’s world class athletes may be approaching the limits of physical potential, suggests an analysis in the journal Sports Medicine, as indicated by a slowing pace of record performances on the track and in the pool. To push athletes further, researchers and coaches look to maximize the power of the brain. Amongst other techniques, sports hypnosis is a powerful teaching tool that can quickly propel athletes to the next level of sports performance.

 

 

Athletes must constantly make judgments and render quick decisions. Batters, for example, have just a fraction of a second to distinguish a curvebatt from a changeup. Rehearsing these rapid calls and receiving instant feedback may hone players' ability to make them on the field. Peter Fadde, a learning systems researcher at Southern Illinois University, introduced a college baseball team to drills in which players try to identify pitches based on abbreviated snippets of footage and on-field observation. The team's average runs per game jumped by 48 percent during the first season using Fadde's drill and continued climbing the following year. 

 

Pros in basketball, soccer, and other sports don't need to be especially big or strong if they can handle the ball more skillfully than their opponents. One less obvious element of this ability is the "quiet eye"—a steady focus on key targets (like the front of a basketball rim) just prior to action. Using eye-tracking sensors, which enable less-expert players to compare their gaze patterns with those of top performers, quiet-eye training has led to improvements in free throws, soccer penalty kicks, and other tasks. "It's a great relief for athletes to know the limitation is not physical," says the University of Calgary's Joan Vickers, a leading researcher of the skill. 

 

Training programs increasingly promote skills that athletes can use both on and off the field. These include cognitive strategies—such as motivational self-talk, setting concrete goals, and mental imagery—that research suggests can aid strength and endurance. Training can also target hallmarks of emotional intelligence (El), like recognizing and managing negative feelings. Studies have documented better performances by athletes with higher El. According to French psychologist Sylvain Laborde at the German Sport University Cologne, solid emotionat coping skills may help athletes handle the stress of training and competition.

 

Sports hypnosis and guided imagery is a powerful teaching tool that can propel athletes to the next level of sports performance. I teach athletes how to be confident, increase their focus, break bad habits, conquer slumps, develop muscle relaxation, and improve their visualization techniques. I’ve used these techniques to help athletes from age 14 to 52 and in more than a dozen different sports.

 

Hypnosis teaches athletes the powerful ways in which to view their actions and outcomes and get the results they intend instead of the results they fear. Golfer Jack Nichlaus won 18 majors in his career and is considered one of the best to ever play the game. He said that he never hit a shot – not even in practice – that he didn’t first visualize in his mind. 

 

As an athlete, you know that your mind can stay acutely active during your sport. You know that your mind is going to have thoughts each and every time you step to the plate, address the ball, take a penalty kick, catch a wave or run a race. Sports hypnosis teaches you to control those thoughts. You can allow your mind to focus on the other athletes, your past performances, all the coaching you’ve received and the dozens of potential outcomes OR you can learn how your mind can focus on success – each and every time. That’s right, you can choose what your mind focuses on… so why not learn the techniques to make it something positive, something useful and helpful?

 

Beyond visualization and focus, sports hypnotherapy teaches athletes the power of muscle relaxation. We’re not talking the kind of relaxation when you’re chillin’ in a hammock on a lazy summer day. We’re talking the kind of relaxation that allows your muscles to work for you, steadily, rhythmically, and with less fatigue. When you become stressed or worried, you carry that stress in your muscles – they involuntarily tighten up. Muscle tension is a protection mechanism triggered by your subconscious. Your subconscious believes it is helping you be ready for action by doing things that aren’t actually helping in your sports performance. The top athletes in the world have learned to overcome the effects of adrenaline and muscle tension and redirect that power to performance. Hypnosis can teach you how to relax away muscle tension so that you’re no longer fighting with your muscles. Instead of inconsistency and fatigue, you’ll begin to achieve consistent and prolonged peak performance.

 

Hypnosis also helps athletes identify limiting and defeating self-talk. We’ve all had a bad experience, an overbearing coach or a critical parent moment. Unfortunately, those things can stick with us, quietly lurking in our mind and only popping up when our performance is on the line. You’ve tried to ignore the negative stuff but it seems to be chirping away in your subconscious. Hypnosis helps neutralize past events and turns your subconscious into the most powerful cheering section you’ve ever had in your life.

 

Imagine stepping up to the ball, the line, the starting block, knowing that you cannot fail. 

Hypnosis isn’t voodoo and it isn’t magic. It’s the laser focus of your mind and it will make you better at everything you do.

 

I offer a 15-20 minute free preliminary phone consultation so you can learn more about how hypnosis can improve your sports performance and all the other areas of your life. Give me a call today at (424) 645-7517.

 

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