Saturday, May 13, 2006

Hypnosis to Improve Sports Performance

The Portland Chapter of the National Guild of Hypnotists met today, and the speaker - Floyd Wills - presented a talk entitled, "Blending Focus With Hypnosis: Mental Training for Sports and Personal Fitness." Meaty stuff! Wills covered theory and gave out real-world tested, nuts-and-bolts tools, passing along substantial, well-researched and well-presented material.

Wills has been practicing martial arts for 16 years and teaching them for seven. The techniques he taught not only fit athletes, but anyone who wants to develop laser-like focus in any area of accomplishment. These brain-based tools work with the whole mind and body. You can't train psychology and physiology separately, Wills says, because they are inseparably connected in our natural biology. Research shows that people are 80 percent more likely to give up on their physical training goals if the mental training component is lacking.

Illustrating facts with stories from his own life, from the lives of athletes and U.S. servicemen, and from folklore, Wills outlined four components that will move us through the blocks - distractions, doubts, fears - that keep us from accomplishing what we set out to do.

I love mnemonic systems - techniques that make things easy to remember, such as associating letters of a word with steps of a process (MYTHS for the five most common fears that block hypnotic trance, for example). Wills used several mnemonic systems in describing simple ways to structure and execute a mental training program.

I left the presentation with solid theory, and with plenty of hands-on tools. Wills included NLP patterns and hypnosis scripts for use with clients - or with ourselves. The packet he handed out also included a bibliography of books that explain things in more depth. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be in the audience and receive the benefits of his knowledge and experience in the martial arts, and to hear how these techniques transfer to the field of hypnosis.

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