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HYPNOSIS AS A SUPPLEMENTAL TOOL FOR WINNING AT PERSONAL BEST IN SPORTS
It is, perhaps, history's biggest and best kept secret on how to use the power of your own mind to achieve the successes in life that you envision for yourself.
If you are interested to reach your maximum in whatever you do then you have to know who you are and what motivates you. Because what motivates people matters! There are parts of us that either work for our ultimate good and believe it or not we have parts of our personalities that are destructive forces that work against our self. So, what type of personality are you dealing with?
Heidi Grant, Ph.D. and E. Troy Higgins a professor of psychology at the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University wrote a very informative article in the Harvard Business Review entitled Do You Play to Win or Not to Lose?. They have concluded that there are two basic types of personalities to look for in determining performance outcomes.
They asked what factors strengthen—or undermine—your motivation? Part of their conclusion was that people answer these questions in very different ways, (which would be obvious) but the challenge at the heart of a winner —whether you’re managing your own performance or someone else’s is “What is your motivation?”.
The researchers also fittingly noted that personality types such as the following are well known among academics and marketing firms yet it is still a well kept secret from the average person or professional such as managers of people – whether it be in sports or business or and even early learning institutions such as public schools.
Grant and Higgins identified two basic types of personalities that they believe can predict performance: promotion focused or prevention focused. “The promotion-focused are engaged by inspirational role models, the prevention-focused by cautionary tales.”
“Motivational focus affects how we approach life’s challenges and demands. Promotion-focused people see their goals as creating a path to gain or advancement and concentrate on the rewards that will accrue when they achieve them. They are eager and they play to win. You’ll recognize promotion-focused people as those who are comfortable taking chances, who like to work quickly, who dream big and think creatively. Unfortunately, all that chance taking, speedy working, and positive thinking makes these individuals more prone to error, less likely to think things through, and usually unprepared with a plan B if things go wrong. That’s a price they are willing to pay, because for the promotion-focused, the worst thing is a chance not taken, a reward unearned, a failure to advance.”
“Prevention-focused people, in contrast, see their goals as responsibilities, and they concentrate on staying safe. They worry about what might go wrong if they don’t work hard enough or aren’t careful enough. They are vigilant and play to not lose, to hang on to what they have, to maintain the status quo. They are often more risk-averse, but their work is also more thorough, accurate, and carefully considered. To succeed, they work slowly and meticulously. They aren’t usually the most creative thinkers, but they may have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. While the promotion-minded generate lots of ideas, good and bad, it often takes someone prevention-minded to tell the difference between the two.”
Perhaps you already self-identify or identify someone's dominant focus immediately. If not you can visit http://www.focusdiagnostic.com/index.php and answer a few questions to find out.
Now that you've identified either your own personality trait or someone who you would like to influence positively to reach their optimal what is next? How do you incorporate a motivator to get you to where you want to be? Whether you are promotion-focused or prevention-focused the motivational factors must strengthen the core values of the person. Getting to those core values is the aim of the goal.
The first and most crucial step in the process of excellence is having a goal. Without a goal nothing can be achieved. And then comes the visualization: seeing, feeling, believing and then - it happens. Goal setting and visualization can come in many forms including choosing a role model, story-telling, metaphors, and even parables. When choosing motivating factors it is imperative that you remember the personality type you are dealing with. Promotion-focused individuals visualize about how they can best achieve that task, while prevention-focused individuals think about potential pit-falls and obstacles.
Now here comes history's best kept secret of all time – the key to ultimate self-fulfillment – self-realization and personal success at everything a person puts their mental energy into – it's called hypnosis. Yes, that eerie, strange, mysterious, misunderstood, sometimes entertaining and always intriguing mental state of hypnosis. And what the heck is it anyway?
Firstly, it is not what you see on television, the movies or even on YouTube these days. Secondly, it is everything you see on television, the movies or even on YouTube these days. Confused? There is no need to be. Simply put everything you see about hypnosis on television or any other medium is true, the false part is that the hypnotist is forcing the subject to perform or be anything that the subject isn't already or at least the potential to be. The hypnotist simply presents ideas in a manner where the subject can see, feel, believe and there it all unfolds.
Hypnosis is a relaxed state of consciousness. Through hypnosis a hypnotist can access the power and energy of the subconscious mind, the seat of our reality – how we see ourselves - where stress and relaxation cannot coexist concurrently. The subconscious mind keeps our hearts beating, breathing, salivating, blinking, internal organs functioning... all easily and naturally. For an athlete it is the key to realizing automatic reactions and achieving a hyper focused state during performance. When an athlete is focused and unaware of distracting thoughts his performance is automatic. Being in a relaxed state during play can mean the difference between success and failure.
In a recent 2014 article in The New York Times February 2014 as well as the Business Insider in January 2015 the power of visualization used by Olympic Athletes is discussed. The effectiveness has been proven by Russian scientists who conducted a study in 1980 comparing the training schedules of four groups of Olympic athletes.
Each group used a different combination of physical and mental training:
Group one: 100% physical training
Group two: 75% physical training, 25% mental training
Group three: 50% physical training, 50% mental training
Group four: 25% physical training, 75% mental training
Can you guess what group had the most success in training as well as competition? If you chose group four you are correct. Group Four was most successful, group three had the second greatest level of success then followed by group two and then group one.
With regards to hypnosis and sports, perhaps because of the “voo-doo” like stigma attached to it, hypnosis is referred to as “guided imagery”. Although there are many approaches to help athletes and coaches/trainers to meet their goals, hypnosis is natural – no pain, no stress, no drugs. Hypnosis is exercising the mind, in particular the imagination, just as physical exercise is to the muscular system of the athlete's body.
While practicing hypnosis, and yes it needs to be practiced like anything else until it becomes a habit of doing, it is the act of turning off or at least down the part of our mind, referred to as the critical factor, in order to tap into the subconscious part of our mind. Once an idea is accepted by the subconscious mind it becomes the subjects immediate reality and auto-responses can be pre-established or pre-programmed for desired outcomes of behaviour and/or beliefs. People who have practiced hypnosis can also eliminate phobic responses, fears of further injury.
Tom Gigliotti, MA, LISW-S, ACHT writes in his research the following are some noted outcomes of hypnosis on different sports performances. “Research has studied the role of hypnosis in enhancing basketball skills, on flow-state and golf-putting performance, its impact on long-distance runners, on archery performance, and on flow states and short-serve in badminton.
“The use of hypnosis in sports offers the following potential benefits that may help athletes handle personal challenges that would otherwise negatively affect sporting performance. Hypnosis helps to reinforce established sporting goals; aids athletes to better handle nervousness; contributes to relaxation; facilitates stress management; increases concentration; eliminates sports phobia responses; provides the ability to eliminate distractions; assists in controlling pain; increases performance; motivation; Improves bodily awareness. And 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!”
The use of hypnosis in top level sports is not a new phenomenon. The following is a short list of reported athletes and teams who have used hypnosis, guided imagery or visualization.
As far back as 1956 it has been reported that eleven hypnotherapists accompanied the team to the Melbourne Olympics to instill confidence and the “will to win” in the athletes. In 1968 the Swiss Olympic ski squad used imagery and went on to win 3 medals in 1968 and more in 1972.
In 1959, Ingmar Johannson used hypnosis training to win the heavy weight boxing title from Floyd Patterson.
Boxer Ken Norton used hypnosis training before his famous victory over Mohammed Ali in 1973, where Ken was a 7-1 underdog. Mohammed Ali began using hypnosis shortly after this loss.
In the early 1980s, hypnotist Peter Siegel worked with bodybuilder Lee Haney who went on to win the Mr. Olympia title eight years in a row! In 1985 Peter worked with bodybuilder Mike Christian who went on to conclusively win the Mr. America and Mr. Universe titles. In his book, Pro-Style Bodybuilding, Mr. Universe winner, Tom Platz, says, “Unless my mind triggers the will to improve my physique, it won’t happen. Essentially, the mind is the master potentiator in bodybuilding.” Yes, Tom consulted a hypnotist! Even heavy-weight boxing champion Mike Tyson had a personal hypnotist named John Halpin.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of hypnotherapy in professional sports is the story of the great baseball player, Rodney Carew. He played from 1967 to 1985. After suffering an injury which had technically healed, he was still experiencing pain symptoms and an elevated sense of self doubt. Carew began to work with a hypnotherapist and he eventually came back to the best season of his entire career,
with a batting score of almost .400, and went on to win ‘The most valuable player award’!
The entire 1983 Chicago White Sox baseball team used hypnosis to help win their division and reach the playoffs that year.
Others in baseball include Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Maury Wills, Don Sutton, Mark McGwire who all reported using hypnosis to be able to relax for baseball games.
Time Magazine reported in a cover story on the 1984 Olympics that on the night before the finals in women’s gymnastics, famous athlete, Mary Lou Retton, then age 16, lay in bed at the Olympic Village mentally rehearsing her performance ritual. She had done the same on hundreds of previous nights, visualizing herself performing all her routines perfectly. The result, of course, was a performance of perfection, presented with charm, poise and confidence, culminating in a gold medal.
In 1996, Irish boxer Steve Collins used hypnosis for the Middleweight Boxing Championship of the world against Chris Eubank. The suggestion under hypnosis was to throw two punches for every one of reigning champion Eubank’s. In the bout Steve Collins threw twice as many punches as Eubank approx 600 to 300 and became champion of the world.
A Wall Street Journal article (February 11, 2002) brings recognition to the field of hypnotherapy. Bronze medal Olympic champion Adam Malysz used hypnosis for his ski jump victory: “And before ascending the ramp and lurching down that icy slide in the 90 meter event, he descended an imaginary staircase-20 slow deep steps into a trance.”
Phil Jackson, NBA head coach of the Chicago Bulls, practiced daily self-hypnosis when he coached Michael Jordon and the Bulls to their 6 NBA championships. Later, after coaching the L.A. Lakers to win the Western Conference Finals in 2002, Jackson credited his morning practice of self-hypnosis, meditation and visualization with giving the Lakers the belief they could win.
Jimmy Connors, used hypnosis in winning the U.S. Open Championship.
Tiger Wood’s mental coach, Jay Brunza, hypnotised him to block out distractions and focus on the golf course. When Woods was a teenager, he worked with a hypnotist to help place his mind in the proverbial zone.
Jack Nicklaus claims that his golf success due to practicing concentration and visualization. He estimated that 50% of his game is mental imagery.
Steve Hooker won the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal in pole vaulting after his hypnotist helped him visualize his success.
The Irish Athletes commissioned a hypnosis practitioner to work with team members in preparing for the 2012 Olympic games. Focus for performance under pressure was addressed.
This is just a sampling of a few of the better known athletes utilizing sports hypnosis and visualization. Perhaps you know of others? People you know?
INCREASE MOTIVATION & FOCUS
ELIMINATE STRESS & ANXIETY
LET GO OF BAD HABITS
NO MORE PHOBIAS or FEARS
STOP THAT ARGUMENT IN YOUR HEAD
OPEN INTUITION & CREATIVITY
OVERCOME ADDICTIONS & GAMBLING
NO PAIN - NO STRESS - NO DRUGS
CHANGE YOUR MIND - CHANGE YOUR LIFE
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