Sports Psychology Tips: Would You Like A Secret Weapon in Your Armoury?
All athletes can improve with this tool
When you’re an elite performer you are likely to be highly motivated and have some perfectionist tendencies. You’re also likely to always be on the lookout for ways to help you keep on improving.
One way to do this is by using Sports Hypnosis. It is an approach many elite athletes use – it’s often their secret weapon which they don’t talk about openly.
Using Sports Hypnosis is a great way of helping you overcome mental blocks – to turn those big lofty dreams into reality and to take your game to the next level.
Sports Hypnosis is far removed from the hypnosis that you may have seen on the stage. When the hypnotist snaps his or her fingers, people fall quickly into a trance and do bizarre things. The goal for stage hypnosis is entertainment, pure entertainment, which is very different to the outcomes that athletes want.
How does Sports Hypnosis work?
Firstly, when working with clients we do a range of relaxation exercises to get you in the right state to help you. Then clients focus on seeing themselves in different situations, feeling themselves in those situations and imagining themselves behaving and performing the way they would like to.
The experience my clients get is a nice relaxed one. It’s certainly nothing to be afraid of or in any way scary. The relaxation process allows your mind to clear itself of cluttered or negative thought patterns. It helps you focus on the good things and positive possibilities.
When you’re driving a car where do you look?
Straight ahead on the road I hope! You’ve certainly got more chance of staying on the road if you look at it, rather than looking at lamp posts or other traffic. Sports Hypnosis works similarly and gives you a much better chance of achieving your goals.
The Mind Body Connection
As I mentioned earlier, top performing athletes are always on the lookout to get better. When they do so they look both internally and externally for ways to develop their abilities and talents. No matter how much you develop these different skills, though, there is often a disconnect between the mind and body in some way.
This explains why no two shots in football, putts in golf, upper cuts in boxing, starts in motor sport are ever the same. If we think of life or death situations, in police or media reports there are so many accounts from eyewitnesses who have performed amazing feats in really dire circumstances to help others. Yet, we all live and function at way below our maximum mental and physical capacity.
Sports Hypnosis can significantly boost your mind-body outputs
Sports Hypnosis can act as a trigger that can ignite someone’s performance – it can enable average athletes to, all of a sudden, perform way above their normal level. I’ve witnessed this happen on lots of occasions at a personal level, as well as with clients.
I’ll share my story of how it helped me. As a reasonably talented golfer, playing off a then 3 handicap, I had finished second in my club championship on 7 occasions and it was beginning to get to me and really frustrate me. Then life and golf stopped for a while, my wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and we went through a large period of uncertainty for 15 months. Sadly, she later died, aged 36 years old. From the moment she was diagnosed I hated golf, and didn’t want to go near my golf clubs, it took me a good 2 ½ years to consider playing again competitively because I was full of rage and it stressed me out further.
In the summer of 2010, that changed and I approached the golf season with some optimism, though I was still a long way from being in the right mindset to compete. Bit by bit, I got back into playing, yet, my game was very erratic and my head was still questioning the logic of playing golf, especially competitively. Anyway, the club championship came along in July and I had decided to do a Sports Hypnosis and NLP course in the June, at the Lake District. This meant I played minimal golf in the build up, visiting a range once a week to hit some balls and playing nine holes near Penrith. I was hitting the ball quite well but wasn’t competing so didn’t know what to expect when I had to make a score.
During the Sports Hypnosis and NLP course we did regular exercises. I went on to ask the trainer if he could help me improve my golf with the club championship in mind. So we did regular exercises and I also went on to create a range of audios that I could listen to. I even listened to them when I was sitting on the toilet! And when I returned home, the next 8 weeks of golf before the season ended was surreal. Mentally I was present, I rarely got ahead of myself, I was relaxed and embraced any pressure. I played without any fear of missing a fairway or a short putt. If I made a mistake I quickly moved on, accepting errors and never dwelling on them. It was a great experience playing with zero expectations and in complete control of my mind and body. You guessed it – I went on to win the club championship! To my delight, I also went on to put myself in the frame time and time again in other competitions.
That’s my story of using hypnosis for golf, however, I’ve also seen clients successfully use it in a range of ways:
- In golf, to beat the yips
- In football, to overcome slumps in form
- In pool, to get over severe performance anxiety
- In motor sport, to move on from serious injuries and bad accidents
- In rugby, to overcome trust issuess
- Plus many more……
Don’t be ignorant
A lot of athletes and coaches I speak to make quick judgements and won’t go anywhere near Sports Hypnosis, often because of the unknown and fear. Or because of the stigma surrounding hypnosis. Or perhaps because of the things they have witnessed around stage hypnosis. I’d say, “Let go of that story you are telling yourself about it”. Sports Hypnosis is extremely powerful and can make a very quick and lasting impact not only on your sport performance but on your life in general and the way you handle pressure and setbacks.
If you’d like to give it a go I can provide you with some personalised audios to help take your performances up a notch or two. Structured programmes can also be organised in the off season so that you can get fully mentally prepared for the new season.
Feel free to sign up to the “The Mental Edge” if you’d like to learn more about Sports Hypnosis and receive regular tips and advice.
To get in touch for one 2 one Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sport Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Newcastle upon Tyne – Face to face, via the telephone, SKYPE or online via email available.
Sports Psychologist located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally. Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence. With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.
T: +44 7734 697769
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