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How Do You Improve Athletic Performance With Hypnosis?

Athlete using hypnosis and imagery to focus during exercise

At Center Point Medicine we use hypnosis and counseling to treat patients who have medical and mental health problemsHowever, once kids learn how to use hypnosis to help themselves, they are free to apply this technique to any aspect of their livesFor example, many athletes want to know how hypnosis can help them improve their athletic performance 

I review with my patients how they can help themselves in athletics, because the more they use hypnosis the better they become with its application including for their health conditionThe reasons for this improvement in their hypnotic ability include that the more they use hypnosis the more they can become self-confident, adept with using imagery to promote change, and in control of how they act and reactIn other words, they become empowered. 

I explain to my patients that 90% of athletic performance is mentalI point out that the best players in various sports are not the fastest, strongest, or tallest, but the reason they excel is because of their mental prowessFurther, I point out that most great athletes use hypnosis or imagery to improve their performance including Michael Jordan (basketball), Wayne Gretzky (hockey), Eric Heiden (Olympic speed skater), Tiger Woods (golf), and likely even Babe Ruth (baseball). 


As for health conditions, a good place to start with hypnosis for an athlete is to learn how to use hypnosis to relaxThis can be done by imagining a relaxing place and/or focusing on body relaxation one muscle group at a timeThe athlete then learns how to trigger a relaxation response during an athletic eventRelaxation allows the athlete to perform more effortlessly and confidently, which improves their performanceA relaxed athlete is less likely to dwell on previous mistakes, less likely to be self-conscious while playing, and more likely to move fluidlySuch a relaxed state often is associated with playing in the zone, which athletes describe as feeling fully immersed in their games, while having great energy, effortless focus, and a mindset that they are performing to the best of their ability. 

Mental Rehearsal 

A second hypnosis method to improve performance is to visualize the desired outcome before and even during a competitionFor example, a baseball player can imagine hitting the ball wellBabe Ruth did that when he pointed to the stands before hitting a homerun to that very locationA golfer can imagine the desirable trajectory of the struck ballWayne Gretzky explained that he was excellent in hockey because he would skate to where he would imagine the puck would go once it was struck by another player. 

Mental rehearsal is key for athletic performanceThe Soviet Olympic gymnastics teams used to spend months in applying hypnosis techniques (which they termed mental imagery training) before stepping on the gymnastics floorThere is even evidence that imagining using muscles can help strengthen themTherefore, I suggest to athletes that they rehearse their sport in their minds daily 

What Would My Coach Say? 

As part of the mental rehearsal, athletes also can imagine talking with an inner coach who can give them feedback regarding their imagined performance and how they might improveThe coach can be their real-life coach or even a famous professional coachTime and again, my patients have reported that their imagined coaches have provided insights of which they had not been consciously awareThese insights originate from their subconscious, and then are brought into awareness through this hypnotic method. 

Many of my patients have reported that their athletic success has improved significantly as a result of their use of hypnosisAmong my patients, some of them have used hypnosis to reach state level or national US high school baseball, basketball, golf, gymnastics, and lacrosse competitionsA few even reached the world Irish Dancing competitions 

Take Home Message 

Since outstanding athletic performance depends on enhanced mental abilities, hypnosis can be a remarkably effective and efficient tool to achieve this goal. 

About Center Point Medicine  

You can learn more about Center Point Medicine, hypnosis, and other great topics by following us on social media or heading over to our website. New blogs are added weekly. A list of all current blogs can be found HERE. 

For medical professionals looking to open their own Center Point Medicine office providing pediatric counseling and hypnosis services to your local community, please follow this LINK to learn more about our franchising opportunities.  


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Profile Photo or Ran D. Anbar, MD, FAAP Ran D. Anbar, MD Ran D. Anbar, MD, FAAP, is board certified in both pediatric pulmonology and general pediatrics, offering hypnosis and counseling services at Center Point Medicine in La Jolla, California, and Syracuse, New York. Dr. Anbar is also a fellow and approved consultant of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Anbar is a leader in clinical hypnosis, and his 20 years of experience have allowed him to successfully treat over 5,000 children. He also served as a professor of pediatrics and medicine and the director of pediatric pulmonology at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, for 21 years.

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