positively on the performance of players. For decades, professional and amateur level athletes have used this method successfully to boost performance.
The concept of the mind playing an equally crucial role as the body is not news. As a matter of fact, it could be just as old as the invention of sports. In the 20th century, this concept was incorporated as a science, under psychology. The term ‘sports psychology’ is believed to have been coined in the 1920s.
Well, hypnosis is a form of therapy dealing with the mind, so how then can it be used in sports, which is mostly physical? Let us see another hypnotic technique that psychologists use to enhance athletes’ productivity.
How sports hypnosis is used to improve the performance of athletes
Creating positive expectation
Creating a positive expectation is another fundamental hypnotic technique that can help improve productivity in sports. It turns out that the concept of expecting something is hard-wired in our brains and it greatly influences our motivation and general human behaviour. Whether negative or positive, we are always subliminally looking to fulfil different expectations.
For instance, has been shown that if you go to a social event such as a blind date or a wedding expecting it to be awkward or unpleasant, chances are that they will. However, with a little change in attitude towards a positive outcome, your expectation also changes, and you will want to achieve this result by the end of the occasion. Expectation can be thought of as a photo-frame, with you always trying to fir the right picture to the right frame.
Physically, expectation can also manifest itself powerfully. Take the example above, if you were really looking forward to going on your blind date just for it to be cancelled after you are all dressed up, what will happen?
On the outside, there can be obvious signs such as being incredibly annoyed, cursing a few times and being generally in a bad mood, for a while at least. In your brain, it’s a whole different story. Expectation is a process, which starts with the release of a hormone in the brain called dopamine. When an expectation is fulfilled, the brain releases serotonin, a hormone often associated with satisfaction.
Putting all these into context, the desire of a golfer to do all it takes to achieve the perfect swing is caused by a release of dopamine. On the other hand, serotonin creates the sensation after winning the course.
In sports, hypnosis is used to elicit the desired expectation in a player. The resulting dopamine produced in the brain is then accurately directed to help improve physical ability. A lot of professional players work with their hypnotherapists to build positive expectations in preparation for future games. Once the hypnosis is induced, an athlete will be obligated to chase the satisfaction and fulfilment subconsciously in both a physical and mental sense. As a result, the chance of achieving the desired results increase exponentially.
Even though very effective, there is a dark side to the expectation theory that you should be wary of. It is possible for a person to build negative intention by mentally rehearsing failure constantly. This may be caused by poor results in the past that have accumulated to create a perception of failure alone. this creates what psychologists call a negative feed loop.
When a team or individual creates a picture of poor performance constantly in their minds and then end up performing poorly, it increases the chances of having a bad outcome in the future. However, using hypnosis, athletes working with their hypnotherapists can get rid of this negative feedback loop because it operates with the unconscious mind which is in charge of running both the good and the bad habits. Let us see what the future of this industry will lead.