Olympic athletes use self-hypnosis to help them achieve top performance. United States teams and those of other nations recognize that the power of mental rehearsal is equally as important as physical practice. Russian teams are taught mental conditioning from the outset of training.
For the average person Hypnocounseling cannot turn a golf duffer into an international champion. But hypnosis can be used to enable a player to achieve his or her personal best.
”What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve!”
Proof of that statement has been provided countless times. To train the body to the limits of its capabilities without simultaneously training the mind is to invite, at best, mediocrity. Sports psychologists have claimed that for Olympic teams 80 percent of an athlete’s performance is in the mind. Championship players in virtually every form of competition have echoed this belief.
What The Mind Can Do
Mental rehearsal also termed visualization, can create and reaffirm the confidence necessary to achieve top performance. The picture visualized in the mind can convince the subconscious that achievement is possible. The automatic nervous system performs in exactly the same manner followed during a physical rehearsal. Neuromuscular coordination improves. What your mind can conceive, you can achieve. If you can think it and see it in your mind, you can do it! Hypnocounseling or properly learned and applied self-hypnosis can work to reduce or eliminate the mental obstacles to peak performance in sport activities. This is an area in which the truth of the phrase ”what the mind can achieve, the body can achieve”, becomes highly evident.
Goal setting is essential. Without having an objective, it is pointless to begin a task, project or trip. Goals may be set by athletes, coaches or counselors or a combination thereof. It is important for goals to be specific, focused on the area in which improvement is desired. Playing better tennis is not a valid goal. Improving a serve or backhand is a goal. Goals must be short-term, achievable and step by step, so that both success and completion are experienced.
Concentration is vitally important, and sometimes difficult to develop. Hypnocounseling has long been an effective means of improving concentration capabilities. Distractions must be eliminated. Post-hypnotic cues may prove useful in stimulating both concentration and specific skills. Visualization, not just in mental rehearsing, but at the moment of performance can produce dramatic results.
Finally, mental rehearsal is the ultimate key to superlative performance. It can prove more productive than physical practice. Imagery is not merely visual in nature; it can include all the senses. In a diving competition, the form of the dive is visual; the smell of the chlorine water is olfactory; the wetness of the entrance is sensual, the cheers of the crowd are auditory. Perfection requires the use of all senses.