Hypnotherapy and performance

by | Jan 18, 2024

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with sports performance. Under hypnosis, the visualisation technique is particularly helpful in improving performance. Read on, to learn more.

Getting ‘in the zone’

Sports performance has as much, if not more, to do with mental ability as physical ability. Many professional athletes, including Tiger Woods, regularly use hypnosis to enhance this ability. Hypnosis can help you to access inner resources and to get ‘in the zone’ – that mental state in which a person is fully focused; fully involved; energised and really enjoying the activity.

What prevents us from succeeding?

When faced with any challenge or perceived threat, our primitive brain will signal to our bodies to produce stress hormones which cause those feelings of nerves. We need a degree of this for a good performance but the brain can be overtaken by a sense of fear and foreboding which prevents us from being successful. In order to succeed, we need to take control of these feelings.

What do we need for good performance?

People who think they are going to be successful will be. Remember your achievements, not your failures. Have clear and definite goals and make your self-talk positive. The more positive you are, the more successful you are likely to be.

As animals we are motivated by reward, so identify the goal and imagine what achieving that goal would feel like. Visualisation is a technique that many sportspeople use to prepare for competition. Visualising success, but also imagining how to cope if things don’t quite go to plan is the way to remain in control under pressure. It has been shown that mental rehearsal – training in the mind’s eye – can achieve results in the same way as physical practice.

It is important to relax away from and during competition, until the time is appropriate to let that adrenaline kick in to maximum effect in order to manage the normal tensions of competition. Many performance problems come from ‘overthinking’ which can lead to ‘choking’, ‘drying up’, the ‘yips’ etc. Paralysis by analysis! Relaxing will allow the memory to do it right.

It can be difficult to keep the mind on the task if we are nervous. Some practice should be done under pressure – under the same conditions as the event so it all seems quite normal and doesn’t cause panic. It can help to have a soothing ‘mantra’ to repeat to yourself to avoid distractions. Focus on the outcome, not on the mechanics as the memory in the muscles will do that automatically, just as you have practised.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Solution focused hypnotherapy can help with all of the above, reducing the effect of nerves and negative beliefs and making positive changes. Under hypnosis, the visualisation technique is particularly helpful in improving performance. The client can be guided to practice techniques in their mind and do everything perfectly, even anticipating things that may not go to plan in order to be prepared for every eventuality.

Glenn Catley, former Super Middleweight World Champion boxer, considered hypnotherapy to be an important part of his fight preparation. He is now a qualified Solution Focused Hypnotherapist himself. It worked for him – perhaps it could help you too!

Contact me for an initial consultation.