The Value Of Hypnosis And Imagery In Enhancing Sports Performance
For decades, imagery has been used by athletes in order to enhance sports performance in many different ways including:
– Improving focus and concentration
– Enhancing confidence and self-esteem
– Setting goals and tasks and improving motivation to achieve these
– Practicing motor skills
– Controlling emotions, feelings and thoughts during critical moments
Imagery Enhanced Under Hypnosis
Research has shown that through hypnosis, this imagery becomes more powerful and vivid. The hypnotherapist can instruct the athlete to experience their performance just the way that they want it to be, using all their sensory channels to the maximum. In this way a rich visual, auditory and kinaesthetic experience is developed which can be much more realistic than simply thinking about your performance.
Hypnosis And Perfecting Your Technique
Suggestions by the therapist to the athlete on how to react in a particular situation can allow the athlete to enjoy the moment while letting go of a mistake more readily. Through imagery under hypnosis, the athlete can work upon a technique, such as a golf swing or a water dive, perfecting each step of the process. Mental rehearsal techniques under hypnosis build confidence and self esteem within an athlete’s performance.
Working Through Performance Anxiety
A large proportion of the cases I have dealt with over the years involve overcoming sports performance anxiety. A common problem is ‘getting back in the saddle’ once the injury has healed. For example, a horse jumper who has experienced a nasty fall and a prolonged injury as a result. Once fully recovered there may be a great deal of anxiety about getting back on the horse as well as performing to the level that they did prior to the accident.
In situations like these I take the client back under hypnosis to when the accident happened and we work together to process any negative emotions or feelings they may have surrounding this. We also get the client to mentally rehearse dealing with the situation the way that they would have liked to, for example, jumping the fence cleanly, as well as practicing future jumps where they perform to the best of their abilities. This primes the mind and body for optimised performance as well as helping to rid anxiety. In this way any blocks can be overcome.
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