Sports hypnosis

We help athletes to improve their performance to get to the absolute top of their chosen sport.

Sport hypnosis can be used to:

  • Reinforce established sporting goals
  • Increase motivation
  • Improve bodily awareness
  • Handle nervousness
  • Manage stress
  • Be able to relax
  • Ignore distractions
  • Control pain.

Understanding how the brain works can help you to understand what’s happening inside your body on those competition days.

Sport hypnotherapy training at Old Rectory clinic, Iron Acton, May 2017

We’ll look at the different areas of the brain and talk about the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) and how that works. We'll discuss how an 'amygdala hijack' can affect your performance. And we’ll look at neural pathways and habits. And we’ll look at the function of the left and right pre-frontal cortices and how they effect subsequent performance.

We’ll look at the problems you’re facing – choking, dartitis, yips, target panic, etc – and talk about paralysis by analysis, and how it can be avoided.

You’ll find out to have the confidence to perform at the highest level from start to finish. It will examine how you think and how you act. We’ll help you decide how you want to behave; visualize doing it; and show you how to step into that world. We’ll look at how to lose negative feelings and focus on positive goals.

We’ll help you build a new future – suggesting you spend time with positive people and experts at your sport. And we’ll talk at length about having clear and definite goals. And we’ll help you answer the question: what would have to be different for you to achieve your goal?

We’ll investigate ways that you can relax. And see how laughing and enjoying yourself increases positivity, optimism, and resilience. And we’ll help you to relax away from competitions and at competitions.

We won’t spend too long on motivational theories, but we will show you how important sleep, eating properly, and getting plenty of exercise can be. And how ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ can be used to improve performance. Punishing mistakes accelerates adaptation, whereas rewarding good behaviour improves retention.

We’ll discuss creating a vision board and how to state your goal in sensory terms. How to list the resources you need. And how to put a date on when you want to achieve your goal and what steps you need to take and by when you need to have taken them placed. These small steps that you need to take will be placed on a timeline.

We'll look at how you talk to yourself, and encourage you to always use positive language. To always say what you are going to do, and never state your goals in terms of what you're not going to do – because the brain doesn't seem to hear the word 'not' or 'don't'. We'll consider how to model what you do on the best people at your sport. To imagine what they’d do and how would they do it and how that would feel. And then you'll step into that picture and see how you can do it and how it feels for you.

We'll look at concentration and the importance of practicing under pressure. We'll look at ways athletes can avoid choking, such as: distracting yourself; not slowing down; focusing on the outcome not the mechanics; concentrating on a mantra (eg ‘smooth’); change your grip; and being positive.

We'll spend a lot of time on visualizations. These can extend from just the contest to your whole time at the event. They can also include all the different outcomes at each stage – so that you're ready for anything. We'll really explore what you can see/hear/feel/smell/taste (called submodalities). And we'll do these visualizations at full speed and in slow motion.

And, most importantly, we'll look at how to overcome limiting beliefs. We'll help you to lose negative feelings and focus on positive goals. We'll look at what will happen if you do nothing and if you start to make changes.

We'll look at getting 'in the zone'. We'll talk about Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's idea of flow – the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. And we'll look at Owen Schaffer's seven flow conditions, which are:

  • Knowing what to do
  • Knowing how to do it
  • Knowing how well you are doing
  • Knowing where to go (if navigation is involved)
  • High perceived challenges
  • High perceived skills
  • Freedom from distractions.

And, of course, we can use hypnotherapy and NLP techniques to bring all this together to help you to be the very best that you can be at your sport.