Many sportsmen and women use hypnotherapy to focus on their skills and to enhance their performance. From athletics to boxers (Bristol's world champion middleweight boxer Glenn Catley used hypnotherapy to help him gain his world championship title) It is also excellent for concentration and helps with improving your golf, darts and pool matches too.
Create positive focus and new automatic response patterns to achieve your full potential. Whether you need to deal with the pressure of competition or simply wish to overcome nerves or negative behaviour patterns.
I used it myself without really understanding what it was I was doing, when I was at school and I competed in high jump and long jump events. I would sit down before a run and visualise the run up and how I was going to jump and land. Then I would relax myself and then do the jump. By focusing I could shut out the rest of my school friends and just concentrate on the jump. It helped me to maintain my position and not get hyped up before the competition.
Hypnotherapy allows you to remove the triggers and negative responses that can be encountered due to pre-competition nerves or self-belief issues. Through simple relaxation and various other techniques, you can become focused on what you really want to achieve.
The scientific stuff
Imagining an act and performing it light up the same regions in the brain. Drs Guang Yue and Dr Kelly Cole set about a very interesting experiment where they had 2 groups. Group A did physical exercise abd Group B imagined doing the exercise. The experiment exercised a finger, monday to Friday for 4 weeks. Group A did 15 contractions with 20 seconds rest between. Group B imagined the same number and time intervals, but with an added voice shouting "harder" between each flex.
At the end of the study, Group A had increased their muscular strength by 30%, as one would expect, but Group B who had just visualised it found their muscular strength had increased by 22%, with no movement just imagination. The reason is that part of the strength comes from the motor neurons that program the movments. During these imaginary contractions the neurons responsible for stringing together the sequences of instructions for movement are activated and strengthen, resulting in increased strength when muscles are contracted.
Case Study 1 - Getting back in the saddle
Tracey had previously fallen from her stallion and suffered serious back injuries. She had made a full recovery from these but 5 years after the event she still could not get back on her horse. I saw her for a number of sessions to help her with general anxiety, after 4 sessions she was able to get back on the horse.
Using a mix of CBT, NLP, SFBT and hypnotherapy we carried on for a further 6 sessions over 3 months. The joy of getting back on her horse and ride again was making other areas of her life so much better. She claimed feeling more relaxed generally gave her the courage and encouragement to try riding in unfamiliar places and other horses.
Case Study 2 - Winning dressage competitions
Tanya came to see me about a fungus phobia, the problem were toadstool rings in her horse's field. As we started the work on the phobia, she realised that she was finding the relaxation CD was helping her riding. She was a lot more relaxed and her horse wasn't jumping round as much as usual. I pointed out that her horse may be hyper sensitive to the small body movements she was making and so was interpreting her anxiety as something to be anxious about itself.
After overcoming the fungus phobia after 4 sessions, she emailed me about 6 weeks later to tell me she'd come third in a dressage competition for the first time ever, and she now understood how her anxiety was effecting the horse.
Case Study 3 - Losing fear of the crowd
When we take up a sport we may not realise we will at a future date end up playing in tournaments - and hence we will be playing in front of a crowd of spectators. This is exactly what happened to my client Dee. She had played tennis for some time, and as she improved, she was asked to play in mixed doubles at tournaments all over the South West. She was always a bit nervous about this, but after one particularly bad match she nearly threw in the racquet! She came to me to see if she could unlearn the fear and to enjoy her game again.
At the first session we went through a number of exercises, which helped reduce her anxiety. In the Second session we started adding tools to help her visualise her playing calmly and confidently. By the third session she was actually looking forward to the next tournament.
After a few weeks of practising these skills she came back for a last session just before a big game, which she breezed through and many of the other players in the club remarked how much better she was playing.
Case Study 4 - Run for your life
Sarah had trained for a 10K run in the gym only, which had turned out to be a big mistake. As she ran down a road in Bristol, she slightly lost balance and broke her leg. The training purely on a treadmill had not been enough for the force of her body weight on her legs as they pounded the hard road surface.
She came to me because she felt there was something stopping her running again. Every time she prepared to go out, something would hold her back and she felt frustrated. When we met up for the consultation, she also had to juggle a very stressful, high-powered legal job in London and was commuting every day. We had to start looking at reducing her stress, reorganising her work schedule and look at her work/life balance before coming up with a planned schedule.
To make matters more difficult, it was Christmas and winter, so there were a whole plethora of excuses to why she couldn't go running. After a few sessions just reducing stress, Sarah was able to reorganise some of her work, which also included working from home 2 days a week. Fantastic, she was now paving the way to scheduling in a number of runs during the week at lunchtime, in the park.
After the initial stalling over Christmas, she was able to take advantage of dry spells in January to also go running at weekends, and was well on her way to planning her training for her next 10K run.