Hypnosis Maximizes Teen Sports Performance
Article by: Claire Caines LCSW
Did you know that many athletes gain an advantage using sports hypnosis? The mental aspects of both team and individual sports are as important as the mechanics and techniques used. Sports hypnosis helps youth athletes enhance performance by boosting confidence, improving focus and concentration, and working through specific issues and concerns about their game. From soccer and baseball players, to runners and pole-vaulters, all athletes can benefit from sports hypnosis.
Working with motivated youth athletes who have a strong desire to excel, it is my experience that they become more consistent, more confident, and better players through sports hypnosis. The methods used are progressive muscle relaxation, guided visualization, interactive exercises and hypnosis.
In every athlete’s experience of a peak performance, they find a “sweet spot” between tension and relaxation. If they become too tense, the result is that they freeze; too relaxed, and they let go of the focus that drives success. Through progressive muscle relaxation, the athlete learns the difference between tension and relaxation, which allows him to achieve that sweet spot again and again.
During the first meeting with the athlete and parent, I ask, “What has been the problem and what do you want to accomplish?” I then ask, “Where have you done your very best?”
I guide the athlete to visualize past peak performances, using all his senses. He is then instructed to memorize the body and mind state of being “In the Zone.” He can recreate that state before a practice or game to achieve that peak performance mindset. Teaching self-hypnosis is a key component of my work. Since I am not present at their practice, game or meet, my goal is to provide tools athletes can use to feel confident and on top of their game.
In the sports hypnosis process, I observe and listen to athletes as they describe their current performance and what they would like to achieve. I see and hear what is being said, how it is said, and I use the athlete’s own words and body language during hypnosis to reinforce positive messages specific to their goals. To get the best results, I speak with the coach and trainer to incorporate their suggestions for the individual athlete I am working with.
Every athlete needs a team of support to maximize his or her success. Parents, coaches, trainers, and a sports hypnosis professional form that unbeatable team.