Flow, Feeling,  Focus to avoid Failure

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red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
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train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
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pan
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By: Terri Richmond BSc, Post Grad Dip., Dip Hyp., BWRT level 1

 

Mindovermatter

 

Upon commencing hypnotherapy training, I had envisaged a niche application for the technique of hypnosis to be used by a hypnotherapist to enhance the development of competitive sport performance at a level appropriate for a given competitor / sport combination.

 

When one considers elite sporting performers, the pre competitive image is of a person who is completely focused or ‘in the zone’. A face of total absorption, eyes focused, unaware of all distractions around them.  This single-minded immersion in the pre event preparation is part of a phenomenon called FLOW, “a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus”.  Flow is said to exhibit components listed below:

 

  1. intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  2. merging of action and awareness
  3. loss of reflective self-consciousness
  4. sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  5. distortion of temporal experience
  6. experience of activity as intrinsically rewarding

 

It is notable that the list above bears a startling similarity to that of hypnotic trance, complete with most often quoted side effects.

 

It is important to note that there is no reference to the level of skill, or the level of competition at this point.  The process of learning a sporting discipline of any type is not considered; learning a sporting skill is dependant upon a combination of learning the skill set, practice, making mistakes, feedback, correction and more practice and this process in turn is dependant upon physical pre disposition, co ordination, application and freedom from injury.

 

There are 3 broad domains of Human Behaviour – Cognitive or knowing, affective behaviour (feeling) and Psychomotor Skill – doing.  Knowing the personality type and dominant learning mechanism of each performer will enable the coach to communicate efficiently with his athlete.  This being said, once the sportsperson starts to perform the skill set then performance anxiety, (nerves) ability to concentrate, to focus and survive distractions are all factors in successful performance.

 

The psychology of sport texts list the 4 C’s as core: Concentration, Confidence, Control and Commitment.  Crucial to Confidence is positive mental imagery, which also helps with development of coping strategies, focus and reduce negative thoughts and so aid Concentration. It is here that the use of hypnotherapy could be used to subvert the conscious critical faculty and work with the subconscious to enhance cognitive and affective behaviour.  The resulting use of all senses to visualise and feel the movement patterns of optimum performance will motivate, refocus and set the stage for optimum performance.  The hypnotherapist can use visualisation, relaxation, reducing anxiety and maintaining focus techniques throughout training to ensure that optimum performance is achieved at whatever level the sports person is involved in and whatever sport.  Further, the hypnotherapies could usefully work with the coach or trainer to ensure that both coach and performer / athlete are ‘speaking the same language”.

 

In the sporting arena these four physiological traits are also important for another type of battle. Maintaining focus and surviving distractions during competition is especially problematic – some call it nerves, freeze, yips, even to the extent of illness or injury before competition.  Doing this one is bad luck – having it happen every time means there is a problem or secondary gain or escape clause for potential below par performance.  The answer is seldom in the body …….

 

I know of a good tennis player and coach who always ended up playing 3 setters at tournaments, losing the first set and then fighting back from there.  He asked a trusted friend to watch him play……. And he was told ‘good coaching job in the first set mate, then you had to start playing!”  In order to break out of his ‘day job’ mindset he has had to change his routine completely for tournaments so his mind knew he was not at work – now if only he would let me work on his negative self-talk…..

 


References

  • Flow (psychology) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Skill Development [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/tech.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]5/2/2015]
  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Skill, Technique and Ability [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/skills.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]5/2/2015]
  • Journal of Sports Sciences, September 2005; 23(9): 951–960 Imagery use in sport: Mediational effects for efficacy SANDRA E. SHORT, AMY TENUTe, & DEBORAH L. FELTZ
  • MACKENZIE, B. (2002) Mental Imagery [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/mental.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]30/1/2015]
  • Sport in Mind/ Articles / What to Expect From the MAC Approach Mitchell Plemmons
  • MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Psychology [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/psych.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]30/1/2015]
  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Competition Preparation [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/comprep.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]30/1/2015]
  • MACKENZIE, B. (2000) Relaxation [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/relaxation.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]30/1/2015]
  • Sports: Introduction to Confidence Are you a confident athlete? Post published by Jim Taylor Ph.D. on Nov 09, 2009 in The Power of Prime
  • TECHNIQUES FOR CONTROLLING COMPETITION ANXIETY Dresdin Archibald Contributor – Olympic Weightlifting
  • HETHERINGTON, N. (2004) What the experts say [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni11a7.htm [Accessed 10/2/2015]5/2/2015]