Hypnotherapy for athletes and sports people
Hypnotherapy techniques are a powerful way for athletes and sports people to tap into the power of their subconscious with observable results in performance, healing from injuries and injury prevention/wellbeing. The following article cites some well known examples of the use of hypnotherapy in enhancing top level performance.
The use of hypnosis in top level sports is by no means a new phenomenon, as far back as 1956 it has been reported anecdotally that eleven hypnotherapists accompanied the Russian Olympic team.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of hypnotherapy in professional sports is the story of the great baseball player, Rodney Carew, born October 1 1945. He played from 1967 to 1985. After suffering an injury which had technically healed, he was still experiencing pain symptoms (most likely of psychosomatic somatic origin), and an elevated sense of self doubt. This is extremely common in injuries of all sorts, that long after healing has taken place there are still pain symptoms remaining, although technically speaking there is no reason for them. Carew began to work with a hypnotherapist and he eventually came back to the best season of his entire career, with a batting score of almost .400, and went on to win 'The most valuable player award'!
A Wall Street Journal article (February 11, 2002) brings recognition to the field of hypnotherapy. Bronze medal Olympic champion Adam Malysz used hypnosis for his ski jump victory: "And before ascending the ramp and lurching down that icy slide in the 90 meter event, he descended an imaginary staircase-20 slow deep steps into a trance."
Time Magazine reported in a cover story on the 1984 Olympics that on the night before the finals in women's gymnastics, famous athlete, Mary Lou Retton, then age 16, lay in bed at the Olympic Village mentally rehearsing her performance ritual. She had done the same on hundreds of previous nights, visualizing herself performing all her routines perfectly--imaging in her mind all the moves and rehearsing them again and again. The result, of course, was a performance of perfection, presented with charm, poise and confidence, culminating in a gold medal. On some levels the mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality, so what you picture in your mind, the body can achieve the picture. Proof of that statement has been provided countless times. Mary Lou pictured a perfect performance in her mind. Her body produced it.
Boxer Ken Norton used hypnosis training before his famous victory over Mohammed Ali.
Other examples of hypnosis in sports include-
Jimmy Connors, used hypnosis in winning the U.S. Open Championship.
Tiger Woods' mental coach, Jay Brunza, hypnotises him to block out distractions and focus on the golf course.
The above examples demonstrate an excellent track record and efficacy for the use of hypnotherapy in enhancing performance. As well as the benefits of hypnotherapy on the day of performance, hypnosis is also used for the build up to big events. It will address sources of anxiety for athletes such as anxiety arising from competition, comparison against fellow competitors and the pressure that athletes put upon themselves to perform. Injury is also a big obstacle in sports and as mentioned above hypnotherapy also has a place in managing and preventing sports injuries.
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James BrannanNovember 29th, 2016