As an athlete it is crucial you believe in your own abilities since this will result in increasing your self-discipline as well as staying confident and highly motivated, all essential tools for a winning formula. Hypnotherapy and NLP can significantly improve your focus and chances of winning whatever your choice of sport whether this is an individual sport such as golf, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, skiing or a team sport like football, rugby or netball.
Sports hypnosis and visualisation therapy (NLP) is beneficial to any athlete no matter their age, level or experience. Therapy can be undertaken with a single athlete in a one-to-one session allowing an athlete to reach their inner potential. However, increasing sports performance via hypnosis and visual guiding may also benefit groups in team sports to motivate all participants by encouraging team play and working towards the same goal. Ultimately, the idea behind sports therapy is to encourage the athlete to increase their focus and to learn to ignore distractions both internally and externally.
What is stopping you from winning?
There is a clear connection between an athlete’s mental and physical performance, for example, when you experience fear, your muscles tend to tighten and this, in turn, negatively affects your physical performance. In the same way emotions deriving from past insecurities and internal distractions can create counter-productive thoughts and responses. Being distracted during a game will almost certainly prevent the sports person delivering their ultimate performance. Once an athlete doubts their own ability if will affect the way they approach their game as it causes a hesitation in their swing, jump, kick or whatever action is required in the particular sport.
In a therapy session, to help increase your confidence and improve your mind set, I use hypnosis, NLP and CBT to fine tune your concentration allowing you to achieve your very best and be successful in your sport. Initially, we will explore any underlying negative beliefs you may hold about yourself i.e. any emotions and thoughts which are stopping you from improving your skills.
Increase your sports performance by using hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is a perfect tool for increasing sports performance because we can place positive suggestions into the unconscious mind of being successful. The unconscious mind is where we store our learned responses, memories, beliefs and associations. Should you have a negative experience during your performance, your conscious mind (where we analyse events) could conclude that you have no talent and this analysis will result in a negative belief being stored in your unconscious mind. Next time you attempt the same activity, your negative belief will affect your confidence by making you anxious, tense and resulting in a reduced level of performance. By having hypnosis we can address those negative beliefs in your unconscious mind by opening your unconscious mind to accept a change to the blocking belief. In this way, you are able to improve your confidence and create a new positive belief about your abilities to achieve results.
By having hypnosis you achieve a further benefit as practising relaxation techniques allow you to release tensions stored both in your mind and your body. Holding tensions in your mind or body does not support positive sporting outcomes. Instead, having a relaxed flexible approach is conducive to a disciplined and open-minded attitude which will re-enforce confidence as well as increasing motivation and self-discipline.
Set your goals, enhance your sport performance and use CBT therapy
Setting goals is an important process since it forms part of the success you are hoping to achieve. We will be using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as a tool for goal setting. It will allow you to analyse your goals, break these into short, mid and long term goals as well as looking at your support network during competition time, training and so forth. By using work sheets you can learn to identify how you respond to events i.e. if you lose a game how do you re-act, is this re-action beneficial to your motivation or is it holding you back from participating more actively in your training and so forth. By understanding your response to triggers you are able to alter your reaction in order to get a more positive outcome by overcoming mental obstructions.
Get that perfect shot by using NLP visualisation techniques
From using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) you will be introduced to guided imagery also called visualisation techniques. This is where you will repeatedly visualise yourself carrying out the required physical activity or routine to your best ability. For example, a tennis player may wish to imagine themselves doing a perfect serve, time after time, until it simply feels like second nature i.e. automatic reactions have been developed. Once on the court, the tennis player will respond to this automatic reaction learned from the visualisation, they will feel calm, confident and perform the perfect serve as they remain secure in their own ability. Visualisation exercises have proven just as effective as actual physical training, which is why many professional sports people utilise visualisation techniques to improve their performance. It is a technique which can be practised any time of the day, whether you are standing in a queue or on an aeroplane.
Get in the zone and be the best you can possibly be
When taking part in sporting activities, it is vital to ‘get in the zone’. You will notice that being ‘in the zone’ is very evident in professional athletes, they appear somewhat distant from the world as they prepare themselves for the event ahead – an athlete ‘in the zone’ is 100% focused, nothing can distract them, there is an immense desire to achieve, and they appear as if they are in their own little world and totally engrossed in the challenge lying ahead of them.
Regardless of whether you are professional athlete or you have just started out, you can achieve this enhanced level of focus and calmness by practising hypnosis and visualisation techniques alongside your regular training.
By attending confidence sessions you can be guided towards finding your inner potential by developing a winning self-confidence, getting rid of anxiety and fear, overcoming obstacles holding you back and most importantly for you to relax and enjoy taking part in these physical activities as well as being proud of your achievements, you will love the game!
By Tina Elven