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 individual techniques, which will go on all night. Because top class athletes already know the huge benefits of visualisation, which is clinical hypnotherapy by any other name. Indeed 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 the ultimate test.
In the years, months and weeks leading up to international competitions, they 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!
There is also a famous study done by Australian psychologist Alan Richardson, tracking improvements to basketball free throws. The study tracked three separate groups. 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.
By using repeated visualisation, the body can begin to effortlessly execute manoevers, without overthinking, and without reacting to situations. Movements become easy and natural and little control is needed. Through visualisation key muscle memory has been achieved. The body knows what to do and just does it.
The benefits of combining clinical hypnotherapy and visualisation are that the body is in a state of deep relaxation when the movements are imagined, so there is no muscle resistance to the virtual exercise, and the body is restoring its energy reserves at the same time as practicing its skills. Sporting abilities will quickly advance to new levels as the body effortlessly improves its tone and elasticity.
Clinical hypnotherapy can help you achieve much deeper levels of absorption than ever before; help you focus more intently on your sport and feel more energy in your body, and more clarity in your mind, as your brain removes all unnecessary thoughts and concerns.
If you would like to see how clinical hypnotherapy and visualisation can enhance your sporting prowess please contact me.