Why hypnosis for sports performance is more than just daydreaming about winning
Yes, it's quite like daydreaming. You might see yourself passing the finish line, making that crucial shot or breaking your personal best. You may even hear the crowd cheer and see the medal around your neck but do you feel the wind in your hair as you run, the blood pumping through your muscles, the weight of the club in your hand? You need to do more than just visualise the end result. If you spend all your time imagining standing on the podium holding up your medals it may make you feel happy but it won't necessarily help you get there.
When we use hypnosis for sports we are not just daydreaming about success, we experience it through every muscle of the body. We're creating a blueprint for our body and mind to follow which involves every muscle contraction and release, every step. Imagining it in such detail we can feel the temperature of the air, hear the sound of our feet pounding the track, bicycle pedals turning, club swinging through the air.
It's all in the detail. In hypnotic rehearsal, we're effectively teaching our body and mind exactly what we want it to do. So the more vivid and detailed we imagine the performance we want, the more our body and mind will learn. *Research shows that visualisation can boost your performance. Also if you rehearse the physical movements along with visualising, the results are even more effective. What we're aiming for is that when you hit the track or the course the muscle and body memory of that blueprint will kick in and you will perform at your best, because you already know how because you've already experienced it.
Obviously just visualising winning isn't going to get you to your goals. Winning the Olympics can seem very far away if you're playing at the local club and you aren't even the best in your team. If you don't have a plan you could find yourself spending all your time daydreaming about winning and no time working towards your goals. If you visualise achieving your goal and you have a plan of how you're going to do it then you have a much better chance of achieving it. Having a plan gives you a path to follow, making it much more likely that you will succeed. Visualising each step will help to motivate you to do it.
A large part of performance is belief. If you don't believe you can do it then you won't be as motivated to get up ridiculously early in the morning, train and deal with setbacks. Once your mind has clearly seen the goal actually being achieved through hypnosis and has a map of how to get there, then it knows you can do it because you already have.
Isn't it so much easier to get up early for that workout before work when you know it's going to pay off?
*'Moving While Imagining as a New Perspective for Motor Imagery Practice', published in the BioMed Central open access journal 'Behavioural and Brain Functions'.
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About Rachel Goth
“My aim is to help you achieve your true potential as quickly and sustainably as possible. Having trained in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and Counselling, I take a bespoke approach to therapy. I appreciate that you are a unique individual and I will tailor sessions to address your particular needs and empower you to perform at your best.” Rachel Goth