Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am not in the least bit sporty and don’t have a competitive bone in my body. I do however have several sportsmen in my family, from footballers, golfers, darts players and fishermen.
I know how seriously they take their particular sport and that performing well and getting a good result is what they strive for and I have witnessed the aftermath when things don’t go so well. I can just imagine how professional sports people feel when their livelihood depends on how well they perform.
Successful sportsmanship isn’t just about physical fitness; it is also down to mind-set. It doesn’t matter how fit a person is, if their confidence and self-belief is low it will affect performance.
It’s all in the mind
It is accepted that our brains can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality. This can work to our advantage when preparing to play our particular sport. If you imagine scoring that goal or sinking that putt the brain activates the same neural pathways and muscle reactions as when you are actually doing it. Therefore, mental rehearsal is a very effective way of practising over and over without actually doing it.
Following mental rehearsal we need to create positive expectation. This has a powerful effect on motivation and behaviour because expectation releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a motivating hormone, so taking that swing or running towards the goal and fulfilling that expectation releases another chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is the feel good hormone and that is the feeling of scoring or sinking that putt.
Before panic sets in with the mere mention of hypnosis, let me reassure you that when you sit and visualise, you are in actual fact using self- hypnosis.
Hypnosis uses relaxation and visualisation techniques to help to create the right expectation and help to channel the dopamine. It is also a very effective way of removing any negative feelings attached to bad performance or failure.
Advances in neuroscience have shown that there is a link between the mind and body, and that they communicate constantly with the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain to the cells in the body and back again.
There have been many successful sportsmen that have used hypnosis to help them to achieve sporting excellence and reach their particular goal. Tiger Woods saw a hypnotist regularly from the age of 13, and other golfers who used hypnosis are Jack Niklaus and Nick Faldo to help improve their concentration.
World Champion darts player Scott Mitchell also credits hypnosis with helping him to beat Martin Adams in the final earlier this year. I have also had the opportunity to help a darts player to get back into the game after retiring from darts. If you would like to read his testimonial please follow this link see the clients comments page.
One of the most inspirational sportsmen that I had the privilege to meet is Glenn Catley who became WBC Super Middleweight Champion of the World in May 2000. Here was a man who, in his own words, “had been written off” and labelled a “no hoper”. This was until he met David Newton from the Clifton Practice and had regular sessions of hypnotherapy. Using relaxation and visualisation techniques Glenn was able to make the changes necessary to build his confidence and see himself winning that belt.
Can it work for you?
The same techniques can work for anyone wanting to enhance their performance whether they want to:-
- Build confidence,
- Improve motivation
- Remove negative feelings
- Reduce stress & anxiety
- Remove self-doubt
- Improve posture
This list is not exhaustive and you may have your own issue that is holding you back and affecting your game, whatever that may be. Hypnotherapy could be the “secret weapon” you’re looking for.