Hypnosis is one of several techniques that athletes may employ to accomplish their sporting goals and it is equally beneficial to coaches as well as athletes. Hypnosis may do for the mind what physical activity does for the body of an athlete. The theory behind sports hypnosis is that relaxation is key to improved sporting performance and athletes may perform better if they are able to relax mentally and focus on the task at hand. Hypnosis may help athletes attain relaxation during practise and competition.
Hypnosis may also help to control anxiety and manage stress in athletes.
Athletes may develop auto-response to preestablished stimuli which is geared towards achieving optimal performance levels. Sports Hypnosis can also eliminate phobic responses, such as 'Trigger Freeze' in the Clay Pigeon Shooter, 'Target Panic' in the Archer and Fears of further injury in sports people following injury.
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.
- 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
Sports hypnosis incorporates cognitive and sports science methodologies. Hypnosis in sports therefore overlaps with areas such as biomechanics, nutrition, physiology and sports psychology. Generally sports hypnosis is studied within the field of sports psychology, which examines the impact of psychological variables on athletes' performance.