Sports Hypnosis: The Athlete's Ultimate ''Secret Weapon''
Author: Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Sports Hypnosis? What is that?
There are so many myths and misunderstandings regarding hypnosis that the tremendous advantages of its use for any athlete are often overlooked.
In fact, of all the Sports Psychologists who practice in the U.S., only a handful are Certified Sports Hypnotherapy Specialists. These highly trained psychologists teach the wonderful skills of hypnosis and self-hypnosis to their clients in order to maximize their athletic performance…consistently.
Since tennis, for example, is an individual sport, the use of hypnosis is perfectly suited for tennis players of all ages.
What, Exactly, is Hypnosis, Anyway?
Evidence of hypnotic-like experiences appears in many writings of ancient cultures and modern hypnosis includes its use in the treatment of and often cure for many illnesses.
There is nothing magical about hypnosis.
Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are actually commonplace occurrences that most of us engage in on a regular basis without realizing it.
How many times have you noticed that when you are driving, you are surprised when you arrive at your destination without noticing the familiar scenery or landmarks along the way?
It was almost as if you were driving on automatic pilot, while your conscious mind was focused elsewhere. This highway hypnosis is an example of going into a trance while your eyes are wide open, similar to a tennis player using self-hypnosis during a game.
And think about all of those times in school when you were in a boring class and found yourself staring out a window or daydreaming. This mental visualization is also a hypnotic state.
Therefore, most of us have put ourselves into a hypnotic state thousands of times without realizing we were actually engaging in self-hypnosis.
Imagine being able to harness this ability and using it to visualize and focus on the positive things you want to accomplish in a match.
Imagine, for example, using a group hypnosis program to teach your entire team to visualize success and specific skills that each player will bring out in his or her match.
These possibilities are being used every day by tennis players exposed to the power of Sports Hypnosis.
The Mind-Body Connection
Your team is about to play in the State Tennis Championships and each of them know how important their performance means for the team. Most of them feel an internal battle brewing in the pits of their stomachs.
Negative thoughts are filling their minds.
There is a vast amount of research that shows that a large percentage of our self-talk is negative and self-defeating.
Every thought that passes through our minds immediately impacts every cell in our bodies, almost instantaneously, through chemical and electronic changes.
This means that the large muscles of our legs and arms…so important in tennis performance…are impacted directly and instantly by our inner thoughts.
"Don't double fault" is often followed by a double fault. "What if I lose the next game" is often followed by losing the next game.
Why do you suppose so many of your players do much better in practice than in important matches?
The answer is that they engage in negative self-talk when everything is on the line, not during practice. The good news is that these self-fulfilling prophesies that most athletes engage in are all avoidable!
The Ultimate "Secret Weapon"
Sport psychologists often teach athletes how to control their inner dialogue/self-talk, so that instead of developing negative self-fulfilling prophesies, they can actually develop positive ones. This is an excellent strategy for every tennis player to learn.
The problem with it is that poor habits…especially thinking habits…are hard to break and when the player is stressed during an important match, there is a high likelihood that the old negative thinking habit will once again rear its ugly head.
This is where Sport Hypnosis has a tremendous advantage over other methods of helping players modify their thinking and behavior during crunch time.
The athlete is trained to focus his/her concentration in such a way that they will not be distracted by negative thoughts. On the contrary, only positive thoughts and images will occur.
This starts the evening before the match, where the athlete falls asleep visualizing the perfect match and how they overcome every obstacle that comes their way. It is used prior to the match to prepare the athlete to relax and to focus on the court, without allowing distractions to interfere…and this includes distracting thoughts.
Ultimately, the athlete can be taught self-hypnosis, which they can use during changeovers.
Sports history abounds with fabulous examples of athletes using hypnotic and self-hypnotic techniques to overcome adversity and enhance their performance.
Sports hypnosis experts, like myself, have taught hypnotic techniques to athletes in literally all sports, to enhance such important dynamics as intensity, focus, consistency, concentration, mental toughness and anxiety control.
While providing your players with the best equipment, game strategy and conditioning are all key elements of tennis success, experience with Sports Hypnosis can be the most valuable tool you will ever provide them!
Dr. Jack Singer is a Certified Sport Psychologist, working with athletes all over the U.S., via Skype. You can contact him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Dr. Jack and his sports hypnosis programs, please click here.