This will help you to recreate that optimal mindset in the future. Use a notepad immediately following your next successful performance to jot down everything that you sensed.
Sports Hypnosis for Athletes
These strategies are discussed in detail and rehearsed mentally. In individual sports, I use this exercise with an athlete accompanied by their entire support team — coach, manager, agent, physiotherapist, etc. Athletes routinely report that this application of imagery can make a critical difference in the heat of competition. This is one of the most popular self-hypnosis techniques employed by athletes.
It aims to help you distance your mind from the here and now and place you in a setting that you associate with relaxation and inner calm. It may be useful for the first couple of times that you or your athletes try it to print out the instructions and have someone read them out. However, the script is written so that it can be recorded as an MP3 file or onto an audiocassette for use by the athlete alone. Where you see continuation marks … leave a pause for a few seconds and remember to speak slowly and clearly throughout.
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A particularly good time to use imagery in the form of mental rehearsal is just before you return to a state of full wakefulness at the end of the self-hypnosis exercise. The heightened state of awareness achieved during self-hypnosis will allow you to enjoy extremely vivid mental rehearsal that will programme the pattern of muscular activity that is specific to your sport. When golfing legend Tiger Woods feels anxious, he gets his mental coach Jay Brunza to hypnotise him.
Woods is then able to engage in positive imagery, block out any nagging doubts and focus on the task at hand. Hypnosis works well as a stress management tool and as a precursor to mental rehearsal. This article has outlined ways in which you can use the power of your imagination and a heightened state of awareness to develop skills that will improve sporting performance.
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You should try to follow formal mental practice with physical practice of the same skill as soon as possible. This approach has been shown to be particularly effective in developing superior sports skills.
The practice of mental skills such as imagery and self-hypnosis will enable you or your athletes to add an entirely new dimension to your training programme that will certainly pay dividends in the long run. Remember that if you can see it, you can create it; if you can feel it, you can perform it; and if you can imagine it, you can achieve it!
Self-hypnosis in sport
Dr Costas Karageorghis is a reader in sport psychology at Brunel University, West London where he also manages the athletics club. He has published extensively in the field of sport and exercise psychology and has been a BASES accredited sport psychologist for 10 years.
References 1. J Psychophysiology ; 2. J Sport Exerc Psych ; 5. Rehabilitation Psych 6. Brit J Psych 7.
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Finally goal setting is associated with the establishment of specific and measurable targets, which enable a structured approach to the achievement of long term objectives. Despite the increased use of hypnosis in many health and wellbeing settings, there is still a very limited use in relation to performance development and particularly in sport settings.
At the competitive end athletes are at similar levels of technical ability and physiological training and as such success and failure are often separated by minute differences; with many suggesting that the difference between success and failure is psychological. Research led by Jaime Baker in the UK has noted that hypnosis can benefit athletes by enhancing self-confidence through the use of positive imagery, self-talk and feedback.
Baker et al. Using hypnosis as a tool for enhancing sports performance is no longer just supported by anecdotal reports, rather there is now an expanding amount of scientifically critiqued research to strengthen this approach. The key is individually designed hypnotic training for athletes, based on their particular needs. Click on the links to read more of the research or to find out how hypnosis works in more detail. Leave a comment.