Mention hypnosis in any social gathering and many people will look at you askance. Mention visualisation in a room full of Olympic athletes and you will start an in-depth conversation about sporting techniques, which will go on all night. Because top class athletes already know the huge benefits of hypnotic visualisation.
When you see athletes lining up to compete at major tournaments, they often look like they are in a hypnotic trance, with their fixed gazes distracted from their surroundings, as they prepare for their ultimate test.
In the years, months and weeks leading up to international competitions, athletes will have rehearsed every single aspect of their performance – not only in practice, but over and over again in their minds too. Not only does such visualisation make them feel more confident and prepared when the time comes, it also conditions their muscles to be ready to provide the required movements, effortlessly and fluidly.
A sports science researcher at a Chinese University asked one group of people to work out in the gym every day, and told another group not to do any physical exercise at all, but just to imagine a full exercise routine once a day. At the end of a month he measured the muscle mass of both groups, and found that while the gym-going group had obviously increased their muscle mass, so too had the group that had exercised only in their minds. They had gained 30% of the muscle mass of the gym-going group!
Another famous study by Australian psychologist Alan Richardson, tracked improvements to basketball free throws. The study tracked three separate groups of athletes. Group A practiced free throws 20 minutes daily; Group B visualized making free throws 20 minutes daily, and Group C did nothing at all. The study showed that Group B improved a staggering 23% in 20 days, despite not touching a basketball for the entire time. Even more fascinating was that this was only 1% less than the group that had physically practiced every day. The mind is indeed a powerful machine.
If you would like to see how clinical hypnotherapy and visualisation can enhance your sporting prowess please contact me.