Performance Improvement

Hypnotherapy for Sports Performance Excellence

Hypnotherapy for Sports Excellence, as the name suggests, is simply hypnotism directed towards improving sports performance. It’s used by all levels of sportspeople, from amateurs to top level professionals, and it’s successfully used to get better results in just about every type of sport. But how does hypnosis, which is concerned with the mind, help with sport, which is all about the body?

The idea of mental factors being just as important as physical factors in sport is nothing new, and is probably as old as sport itself. In the 20th century, this idea was developed by the new science of psychology. The term “sports psychology” has been in use since at least the 1920s, and the Soviet Olympic squads of the 1950s famously employed teams of psychological coaches. Sports psychology began to be taught at universities, and it gradually became big business, as major league teams and players added sports psychologists to their staff. Sports hypnosis is part of this movement, and can be seen as a practical sports psychology tool.

You can read more at this excellent website http://www.sportshypnosis.org/

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Hypnosis for Performance Improvement

Hypnosis can improve your skills and performance.

Hypnosis has long been used to help athletes, musicians, performers, and others to achieve greater results by improving their skills. Henry Ford said, “If you believe you can, or believe you can’t…you’re right.”

Golf-WomanBy using medical hypnosis and clinical hypnotherapy you will discover the power of mentally rehearsing the performance you want to achieve.

Hypnosis helps you remove obstacles and limitations to your beliefs, helps you create stronger positive behavior and learning, and uncovers any emotional barriers or fears of success. By improving your confidence and certainty of success in mind, you are transforming your brain… actually changing your brain.

The Dali Lama is an avid lover of science and for many years felt that the monks who meditated regularly actually changed their brains in ways that were quite astounding. Eventually, researchers in neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin studied the Tibetan monks that meditated. The Dali Lama was correct.

By focusing our intentions, beliefs, and expectations in a meditative or trance state, the brain actually changes. We now refer to this phenomenon as neuroplasticity or brain plasticity.

Sophistications in neuroimaging have now proven that what we pretend and believe in imagination is acted upon as real in the brain. With motivation and regular mental practice or mental rehearsal, the brain changes to reflect the improved skills we are imagining in mind. As they now say, ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’.

Do you know the power of mental rehearsal?

Studies show that what we imagine stimulates areas of the brain.

Here is an interesting example of mental rehearsal that has been replicated with similar results. A study carried out at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan by one L. Verdelle Clark found that Mental Practice does indeed have a noticeable effect on the improvement of skills.

The study was carried out to measure the impact of mental practice on basketball free throws. The first group of students practiced physically throwing the ball for 20 days and were scored on both the first and last days. The second group was also scored on the first and last days, however, they did not engage in any practice whatsoever. Interestingly, the third group did not do any physical practice at all and instead practiced throwing the ball only in their mind, making corrections to their next throw whenever they missed.

The Results

The first group that had practiced for 20 minutes a day scored a 24% improvement in their skill. The second group showed no improvement, naturally, and the third group amazingly improved by 23%; only 1% less than those that physically practiced, which shows that, without a doubt, skills improve with mental rehearsal.cartoon-of-business-executive-giving-speech-before-audience-148142072

Another Example of Successful Mental Practice 

Capablanca was an immensely talented Chess player and experts believed that he might never be defeated, such was his superiority over all competition. He was defeated though in 1927 and by a rather obscure player named Alekhine who was previously given no chance against the champion. After the defeat, the world was in shock at such an upset. When quizzed by a journalist on how he had prepared for the match, Alekhine told him that he had spent 3 months in the country playing chess in his mind and mentally rehearsing the match.
Now, remember that a hypnotic trance is a conscious state of focused awareness where one is absorbed in their own thoughts and ideas so well that they are concentrating their mental energy like a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun. So, the mental rehearsal studied in chess players, athletes, musicians, performers of all kind… including a student preparing for an exam or a business person mentally rehearsing a speech… are all examples of using the power of mind (which is a motivated and intentional form of hypnotic trance) with hypnosis.

Whether it’s business, sports, artistic performance or giving a speech, hypnosis can make a huge difference to how you perform, especially when under pressure.

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Hypnosis for Procrastination

Procrastination can cause anxiety and dissatisfaction in many people.

It stems from the unconscious desire to ‘bury the head in the sand’ and hope it goes away. It’s often linked to fear in one of several ways:

  • We may fear some aspect of the process we’re putting off; for example going to the dentist if we fear the possible discomfort;
  • We may fear the consequences; for example, putting off giving bad news to our boss for fear of a dressing down

More often though, it’s a case of convincing ourselves that there is something more enjoyable that is also more urgent. We really shouldn’t miss that soccer game on TV so we’ll put off preparing that reportprorastination

But the tasks don’t go away; they simply get added to the list of other things we haven’t got around to doing yet, and so adding to the anxiety and dissatisfaction that we felt.

Hypnosis is highly effective in creating a fundamental shift in thought processing that allows us to do what we know needs to be done, without delay. No longer is the default setting set to waiting till the last possible minute to attempt to complete a task or activity.

Using hypnosis your unconscious mind is reprogrammed to actual ‘act’ and ‘do’ what your conscious mind knows needs to be done. A new level of action is therefore established for the long term.

This results in a new level of contentment and the positive feelings of freedom.

But that’s not the best of it. It’s often said that the secret to achievement in life is doing the little things consistently.

So eliminating procrastination from your life may be the best thing you ever do to help you achieve your life goals.

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Hypnosis and Sports Performance

“The results from the present study found that participants in the hypnosis intervention group scored significantly higher than the relaxation intervention group at post-intervention in dribbling and defensive skill scores…. and in three-point shooting scores. Participants in the hypnosis intervention group also performed significantly better at post-intervention than at pre-intervention in the dribbling, defensive and speed shooting skill components…

This quote is part of the findings of research conducted by Phd doctoral candidate Brian Vasquez at Washington State University. in 2005.*

He compared the performance of basketball players, some of whom underwent hypnosis aimed at strengthening performance and allowing the participants to enter a particular state of mind.

It’s one of many studies showing that hypnotherapy can significantly improve athletic performance.

Via the similar methodologies, hypnosis is equally effective in improving performance in most forms of human endeavour, whether business, artistic, athletic or personal improvement.

You can read the entire paper here.

* THE EFFECTS OF HYPNOSIS ON FLOW AND IN THE PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT OF BASKETBALL SKILLS By BRIAN L. VASQUEZ

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY College of Education DECEMBER 2005

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Hypnotherapy and Self Esteem

Our self esteem can be a pivotal factor in many areas of our lives.

How we feel about ourselves can be and is assessed by others in many situations, both social and professional. It affects the way we think about and approach these situations.

In the case of a  job interview, if we are not confident, it can show in our body language, the words we choose and how elaborately we answer questions.

A skilled interviewer will pick up on these indicators and this can make all the difference when it comes to a final hiring decision.

Lack of self confidence can limit our social lives and may be a barrier to our forming lasting relationships.

Indeed, low self esteem has been shown to be what is called an Outcome Variable in how we deal with and recover from illnesses such as cancer and heart attacks.

Hypnotherapy is a highly effective, reliable and side effect free method of removing the barriers to a healthy self esteem

“Hypnotic techniques offer the clinician an abundance of options for enhancing self-esteem and self-efficacy. Their impact upon the core beliefs that characterise self-esteem may be direct, as in the case of ego-strengthening, or indirect, as in the case of a variety of interventions which enhance self-worth through the relief  of distressing affects, behaviours, and cognitions and the resolution of intrapsychic conflict.”

This quote is from a paper published in Hypnosis in Australia, Nov 1997, entitled, SELF-ESTEEM, HYPNOSIS AND EGO-ENHANCEMENT by Simon P. Stafrace Psychiatrist in Private Practice, Barry J. Evans Department of  Psychiatry, University of Melbourne and Graham D. Burrows AO, KSJ Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre.

You can read the entire paper here.

 

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Hypnotherapy and Goal Achievement

Research continues to demonstrate how effective Hypnotherapy can be in helping an individual to achieve their goals in life, whether they be health. sports or professional objectives

Diamond, Davis, Schaecher and Howe (2006) observed qualitative improvements in motivation as well as strength when hypnosis was used to help treat chronic stroke patients. It has also been postulated that hypnosis empowers people to help themselves and increases self-esteem (Fricker & Butler, 2001). In reviewing the anecdotal and experimental evidence supporting the use of hypnosis, Onestak (1991) suggests that the mere notion that hypnosis is effective can be motivational enough for a subject to pursue it as a strategy for improving performance, particularly goal-oriented people. This is despite no real consistent or decisive evidence to support such a theory. Hypnosis also can be seen as a natural state that can empower self-control. Furthermore, in a study involving the impacts of hypnosis on goal achievements, hypnotised participants demonstrated a greater result than those from a control group (Emmerson, 1990).

Studies have also researched the impact of hypnosis on athletic performance. Arguably, the difference that often determines success or failure is the psychological preparation of an athlete, and a commonly held belief has been that psyching an athlete up will enhance performance (Onestak, 1991). However, the inverted-U hypothesis contradicts the commonly held view of drive theory that an increase in an athlete’s arousal level improves performance, and that arousal only works to a point before tapering off (Onestak, 1991). Therefore, to counter this effect, athletes are becoming motivated to try hypnosis with sport psychologists who have become more focused on lowering these arousal levels to optimize performance (Onestak, 1991). Such hypnotic strategies include controlling arousal, increasing self-confidence, regression to a more positive memory state, decreasing anxiety, venting negative feelings, narrowing attention, and reducing pain (Onestak, 1991).

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Demystifying Sports Hypnosis

In ‘Sports Coach’ Volume 27, Number 1, an Australian Sports Commission publication, Michelle Paccagnella,  a Sports Psychologist, ACT Academy of Sport, explains the use of hypnosis to improve sports performance.

For some time, hypnosis has been an accepted component of psychotherapy, medicine and dentistry. While there is a well-documented history of hypnosis being used in sport, it is not commonly discussed nor promoted as a useful technique for athletes. However, there now appears to be a resurgence of interest in the use of hypnosis in sport.

Hypnosis can be an incredibly powerful tool for athletes for both therapeutic and performance-enhancement
purposes. Read on

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