Self or Sport Hypnosis…
Hypnosis is defined as a trancelike state that is like sleep but it is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject. In self-hypnosis, the subject and person is one in the same.
Hypnosis in sports started being used as way back as the 1950’s by the Russian’s. Clinical psychologists studying the powers of hypnosis on an individual started wondering if it could have a positive impact on athletes. Working with the Russian Olympic team they started experimenting if it could be used as a performance enhancing tool.
Since then, it is used around the world by athletes of all sports. Self-hypnosis is so powerful it can even be used in every day life at work or at home. The logic behind it is that ‘if you can see it, it must be reality and if it is reality, it must be true’!
There has even been cases of POW’s, while in solitary confinement where they used self-hypnosis to survive. In order to escape the harsh environment and in some cases, torture they were being subjected to, they used this method to think of places they were at during their lives with family and friends. It was one way of keeping your sanity.
More recently there was a study where they got two groups of participants to engage in muscular development. One group performed actual exercises while the other group performed the exercises using hypnosis in a very real and visual sense.
After six weeks, the group performing actual exercises had increased 30% in muscle tone while the hypnotized group increased 13% in muscle tone. That is pretty remarkable proof of what the mind can achieve.
Use in sports…
Since the Russians, self-hypnosis has become common practice amongst many professionals across all sports. Tiger Woods has been using it since his early teens. Jack Nicklaus has claimed that he never hit a shot on tour or in practice without having a very sharp picture of what that shot was going to look like.
One of the theories behind it as used in sports is that it relaxes the athlete, takes away nerves once you have convinced yourself you can do it.
Application of Self Hypnosis…
Brain studies have shown that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actually performing an action. This mental imagery impacts cognitive processes in the brain which affects motor control patterns, perception, planning and memory. In essence, through self-hypnosis, you are recording in your brain the actions you are about to perform so when it is performed, it will follow the ‘film’ of what you just recorded.
The key is that the imagery needs to be highly detailed, in other words, realistic. Bringing in as many senses as possible during this short mini-trance enhances the effects of the hypnosis. Any smells in the area should be part of this visualization. Details in the room surroundings like ornaments, color of the walls, people, should be included. You are mentally filming yourself in the environment you are in then proceeding to perform your actions exactly the way it needs to be performed for success. FAILURE is never, ever part of this imagery.
The use of hypnosis offers many benefits that helps athletes handle that would otherwise negatively affect their performance. Hypnosis:
- helps to reinforce established sporting goals
- aids athletes to better handle nervousness
- contributes to relaxation
- facilitates stress management
- increases concentration
- provides the ability to eliminate distractions
- assists in controlling pain
- increases performance motivation
- improves bodily awareness
Anyone can do this!
Whether you are a professional or amateur, a regular Joe or a world class athlete, anyone can do self-hypnosis. It takes time to practice but once you start visualizing success, and actually having success, you can fine tune your techniques.
I perform self-hypnosis in two ways. The first one is what I call ‘prep self-hypnosis’. This is actually running through your head the training you are about to do before you are even at the gym. I do not go through every single set and rep, instead, I use ‘highlights’ of some of the big attempts I will make that day. This can be done in short bursts of 30-60 seconds as many times during the day as you can. Envision what you will be wearing that day and make sure you wear it too!
The second method is ‘on the spot’ visualization going through the performance right before I am about to do it. This is also between 30-60 seconds in duration. One can perform ‘prep’ and ‘on the spot’ visualization together; first during the day, then later when training.
One little trick that I use is that I may visualize a set before the ‘big’ event to get confidence up. Once that set is performed easily, then I visualize the big one. After all, if the set before the big one worked out so well, why wouldn’t the grand finale?
Give this a shot, I am confident this will improve your training in whatever sport you practice. We all know the mind is an incredibly powerful part of the human body, learn to tap it’s resources and the rewards will be endless.
Visualize yourself being….Fit Forlife