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Hypnosis & Sport

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

Introduction

If you're reading this, you've probably already tasted some success, and are probably among the top 10% or 20% in your chosen sport. However, how can you build upon the successes you've had to really make a significant mark in your sport – to truly stand out from the crowd and leave a legacy as a champion. There have been many talented sportspeople with huge potential – and yet they have not lived up to that potential over time.

Your psychology and your thinking strategies make the difference between someone who just has 'potential', and the person who actually grabs that potential with both hands and makes full use of it in their lives.

So – are you going to become more than just a gifted athlete with lots of potential? I challenge you to actually become outstanding – to become someone who makes a significant contribution to their sport, and to our society.

So, before reading any further, take a few moments to think, now, about what significant achievement you'd like to attain.... then I will take you through a process for how you can actually make it happen.

I've been fortunate to assist with two Olympic Gold medalists, hundreds of national champions and thousands of outstanding athletes and coaches over the past 25 years, and what has absolutely fascinated me is – how does someone take an idea, a wish to say win an Olympic gold medal or a national championship.... and actually make it happen? What are the keys which allow someone to take a dream and turn it into reality?

I suggest there are 12 important principles, or keys, – and I use the word SIGNIFICANCE as an acronym to explain these.

Let's go through them – and as we do, I encourage you to apply each principle to your own dream of significance.

S - State Positively and Precisely What You Want

It's important to know exactly what you want and to focus on what you want, rather than what you DON'T want. Our attention is like a missile guidance system – whatever you focus on, you will move towards. Making your desire precise helps use your unconscious resources to help with the goal, rather than just your conscious will power.

I - Important Reasons

Reasons generally come before actions – rarely does anyone do anything without a 'reason'. So find powerful reasons to achieve what you know exactly what you want want.... rather than excuses NOT to do it! Too often we get caught up in the inevitable challenges and difficulties in our way. However the way to overcome these is to have compelling enough reasons. Write down now half a dozen powerful reasons WHY you want to achieve your goal, and what will it cost you if you DIDN'T achieve it?

G - Turn into Goals

Goals are dreams with a deadline..... and an action plan. WHEN do you want to achieve this by? It's been shown that most people OVERestimate what they can do in 6 months or a year, but UNDER-estimate what they can do in 5 or 10 or 20 years. What is the FIRST STEP? Identify some small thing you can do tonight that will immediately start you on the journey.... And do it!

N - Non-Comparative with Others

Compare how you are today with how you were yesterday, and how you want to be tomorrow. Your competitors are simply yardsticks by which you chart your OWN progress from the past.... to the present.... to the future.

I - Intrinsic Motivation

Do it FOR YOURSELF. Because this is what is in your heart – your heart driven, passion driven desire.... because you LOVE it.

F - Future Self Reference Point

We have a fascination with, and an attachment to, our personal history that is totally unwarranted, and in my opinion, mostly detrimental and limiting to achieving our highest potential. You are NOT just a consequence of the past, but a pre-sequence of a future self who wants to come into being. Use this Future You as a new 'reference point' for decisions/beliefs about yourself, and allow this future self to become your own 'inner coach' and mentor. Most people think they are locked into being a consequence of their past – and it is a seductive belief and can seem very real.... but this is just a default setting on your personal computer. You CAN engage your INTENTION by establishing a relationship with your desired future self – then the past becomes irrelevant, and the future draws you towards itself.

I - Imagine it Happening

Engage the most powerful force in the Universe – your imagination – to ENVISAGE it happening. Just think, if you took just 30 seconds first thing in the morning and 30 seconds last thing at night, and used this time to picture what you wanted.... to kindle the flame of your creative power to INTEND the result you want. If you did that every day for the next six months, do you think that would have an impact? You better believe it will!!

C - Congruent with Your Core Values

There is power in connecting the surface goal you are wanting with the driving core value underneath. We rarely identify the real goal we are actually chasing. People don't want money, or relationships, or possessions.... they want to experience the CORE VALUES those things represent: e.g. security; love; intimacy; freedom; independence; happiness; etc. You can identify your underlying values by using an "outcome chain": Ask yourself "What will this give me that is even MORE important?"

A - Achievable

What you want needs to be achievable – but how do you know? Only YOU can know. As a general rule, if you can't SEE yourself doing it / achieving it, you probably won't. If you can't 'see' it happening, break the goal down to smaller chunks until you can.

N - Never Give Up Mindset

Develop a mindset of PERSISTENCE. Persistence is more powerful than skill or intelligence or good looks. Persistence can get you just about anything you want. How do you develop persistence? Persistence is a mental process which focuses on solutions. Ask yourself : "How CAN I do such and such, or achieve this?", and expect an answer. Your brain is designed as an answer-seeking mechanism, use it wisely. Most people get stuck because they ask the wrong questions.

C - Commit

How do you commit? Establish a routine – something small – and do it every day.

E - Ecology Check

The main reason people don't achieve a specific goal or dream is resistance or sabotage from within themselves. Check for objections WITHIN yourself and WITHOUT from others close and/or important to you or the goal. Are there any 'down' sides? Are you willing to pay the price? Is it worth it? If objections, find a way to either modify the goal, or build a solution to the objection into the process.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

Introduction
If you've ever watched a stage hypnotist have someone act like a chicken, or stand on their head, or do some other equally stupid or frivolous behaviour, you may have wondered whether hypnosis could be used in more useful and constructive ways.

You may perhaps have heard of hypnosis being used to stop smoking, lose weight or change some other unwanted behaviour, but could it be used to do better what you already do well? Can hypnosis, for instance, assist sportspeople to improve their performances?

The answer is a resounding 'YES!'

Through the use of SPORTS HYPNOSIS techniques, not only can an athlete successfully change an unwanted behaviour or habit, but limiting perceptions and beliefs can be released; pain controlled and injuries healed more rapidly; self confidence increased; and sports performances significantly improved.

What is Hypnosis?
There are many myths, misunderstandings and half truths about hypnosis - due no doubt to the fact that very little is understood about how or why hypnosis works, and even among experienced hypnotists there is significant disagreement about hypnosis.

So exactly what is hypnosis, and how can it improve my game?

One way to talk about hypnosis is to say that it is a process in which a person induces in themselves a state of mind, (often called a 'trance'), in which their perceptions are significantly altered from those normally experienced in the usual waking state, and in which they have access to a greater range of personal resources and abilities. The resources and abilities of their unconscious mind.

It's important to realise that while some students of hypnosis disagree, many hypnotists understand that it is impossible to have someone follow a suggestion that the person doesn't want to follow. The role of the hypnotist then is not to 'put someone into a trance', but rather the hypnotist helps to create an environment in which the person themselves changes their ordinary 'conscious' perceptions and accesses more 'unconscious' perceptions and resources - and so changes themselves.

No-one can hypnotise you - but you can choose to hypnotise yourself! In fact, this is essentially what you are doing every minute of the day - self hypnosis! When you say to yourself, "I've got a weak backhand"; or "I always slice"; or "I never play bunkers well"; or "We never play well at that venue", then you're just hypnotising yourself to making it come true! Many of the currently accepted limitations in sport - for example, the supposed 'home advantage' - are simply instances of mass hypnosis, perpetuated by the media, coaches, team mates, etc, and not really 'true' at all.
Hypnosis and Sport
Hypnosis works because of the existence of the 'conscious' and 'unconscious' minds. Our conscious mind represents only a small fraction of the mind's total potential, and the ability to tap into the unconscious parts of the mind and its resources allows an individual to significantly enhance their performance. Excellence in sport is a combination of unconscious competence, and unconscious confidence. Unconscious competence in the skills of your sport is developed through hours of practice and repetition until the skills are natural and automatic, and most sportspeople spend much of their time training in this way. Every sportsperson knows that you play best when you play 'unconsciously' - when you 'just do it', without conscious trying or striving .... when you are unconsciously competent. So hypnosis - being a method by which one becomes more familiar with the unconscious mind and its resources and abilities - is something sportspeople can greatly benefit from. Further, the 'peak' experience in sport - those times when you are so in the 'zone' you are unbeatable - is essentially a 'trance' state. Through the use of hypnosis, sportspeople can consistently create these type of peak experiences by choice and design, rather than have them happen by chance or accident.

On the other hand, unconscious confidence is a result of parental and social conditioning, and determines your habitual and automatic emotional responses to what others say to you, or about you. Hypnosis can be used to positively program unconscious confidence to replace negative conditioning, or to fill in gaps where there was no positive encouragement as a younger person, and to enhance and amplify the existing positive conditioning.

I've identified five main areas where hypnosis may be of benefit to sportspeople and coaches:

* Performance Enhancement;
* Time distortion;
* Confidence and Self Esteem;
* Pain control;
* Healing of illness and injuries.

Performance Enhancement
Hypnosis may be used in the following ways to enhance athletic performance:

- Increased sensory perception. In hypnosis, sensory perceptions are enhanced and this improved sensory capacity can be transferred to sporting contexts.
- Change unwanted behaviours and habits. Inappropriate and unwanted behaviours that are preventing an athlete from achieving their full potential can be influenced with hypnosis. For example: eating disorders, smoking, alcohol or drug addictions, overly aggressive or disruptive behaviours, and even learning difficulties.
- Unlock latent abilities and reprogram limiting beliefs. One of the most commonly experienced positive consequences of the experience of hypnosis is a changed perception of what is possible, and the surprise of tapping into hitherto unknown resources and abilities, leading to a greater sense of personal confidence and self esteem.
- Role model identification. Trance states may also be utilised to model the skills and behaviours of top players in a given sport, and through this modelling allow an individual to acquire those specific skills and behaviours at an accelerated rate.
Time Distortion
Time distortion is the ability to 'stop' or 'stretch' time - similar to what happens when you experience a life threatening incident and everything, apparently, slows down. I'm sure you've recognised the ability of elite sportspeople to apparently have so much time to get into position and play their shots. Essentially what they're doing is 'stopping' or slowing their perception of time. This can be taught and trained through hypnosis.

Confidence and Self Esteem
Truly it's not what others say to you, but rather, what you say to yourself after they stop talking. The kind of unconscious confidence that we see in champions is a result of not having to think about being confident or trying to talk yourself up - it's a result of having deeply ingrained at an unconscious level an unshakable positive self image and powerful positive self talk that isn't affected by what others say. This can be strengthened through the use of hypnosis.

Pain Control and Healing
Likewise, athletes can be taught pain control techniques to use when under duress, and body healing techniques to speed recovery from both injuries and heavy workouts. Two relatively well known uses for hypnosis in pain control are in dentistry and obstetrics where a trance is induced to allow the dentist to drill a filling, or the mother to give birth, with little or no pain. Surgical operations have even been performed without anaesthetic drugs - the only pain control method used being hypnosis.

Further, recent work in hypnosis has shown that it may be of assistance in healing both chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and in recovering from injuries.

Like all hypnotic skills, both pain control and healing require considerable hypnotic training and practice to achieve, but may be learned by anyone with dedicated effort and consistent practice.

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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