Sunday, 1 September 2013

Hypnotherapy and sports


As the Summer draws to a close, here in the UK, I’ve been reflecting upon the events of Summer 2013. One stand out highlight, for all of Britain, has to be Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. It was a nail biting game and, following his emotional defeat last year, everyone was rooting for him. His win helped to up lift the mood of the whole country.

It’s wonderful to witness this success, but have you ever given much thought to the physical and mental training that precedes such a success?

I know I had not, until I recently started to work with some professional tennis players in my hypnotherapy clinic. Working with professional sports people has been an eye opening experience for me. In addition to the physical endurance required for training, the determination to adhere to strict diet plans and the sacrifices which need to be made in their social lives, professional sports people also have huge mental challenges to overcome.

So, how does hypnosis help with sport? To be the best at what they do, people have to truly believe they can be. They need to be able to visualise winning. To do this they must handle any defeats in a certain way. It’s tough to do this.

In addition to this, the travelling involved in being a professional sports person can create a lot of anxiety. Meeting lots of new people, travelling on planes, spending long periods of time away from home, especially when you’re quite young can all create anxiety. Sports people also face a lot of socially difficult situations. Unless you play a team sport, being a professional can be quite lonely. The tennis players I have worked with describe how it is difficult to approach the other competitors and ask them to warm up with you at a tournament. Many of us find it difficult to approach strangers and start conversations but that difficulty is multiplied when those strangers are also your competitors. I teach techniques to my clients which alleviate this anxiety and allow them to maximise their sporting potential.

I also help my clients to cope with the immense pressure they are under. Most of us have a long extended career in which to achieve our goals. For many sports people, achieving their goal depends on their performance on a single day. That’s an enormous amount of pressure. I teach my clients various calming techniques to enable them to handle the pressure.

One of the biggest fears of the general population is public speaking. Are you one of the people who would do almost anything to avoid giving a speech? A typical audience for a speech would be about 40 people. Compare that to the thousands or even millions of people watching a professional athlete. That is some serious stage fright to overcome!

Hypnotherapy is wonderful for helping with all of these challenges, faced by sports people. Hypnotherapy is very relaxing and you can use hypnotherapy to overcome anxiety and stress, help you to achieve your goals and also to manage pain. For these reasons, hypnotherapy is being increasingly used within the world of professional sport.

Of course we are always impressed with the achievements of professional sports stars. Upon reflection of the additional obstacles they must overcome, I find myself increasingly in awe of them.

If you’d like to find out more about sports and hypnosis then get in touch here.