Sports Hypnosis Explained

There are numerous misconceptions about hypnosis, mostly arising from people’s views of stage shows. It is now well acknowledged that there is a connection between the mind and body, with scientific research demonstrating that your mental processes, states and behaviours affect the cells in your body.

Barker et al. (2013) state that hypnosis is commonly used as a therapeutic procedure in which alterations in thoughts, perceptions, feelings, behaviours, and memory can theoretically be induced through suggestion. Numerous athletes have utilised sport hypnosis to improve their ability and take control of their performance. At MESH we use scientific research to underpin what we do. Read more about published research on sports hypnosis.


How does it work?

Hypnosis is about following instruction. At MESH our approach to sport performance hypnosis is combining imagery with relaxation to open your mind to suggestions. Through this process your mind will begin to act upon beneficial suggestions over the following days, weeks and months, embedding positive new actions and beliefs in your daily life, and particularly in your sporting performance.

Each person is different and will experience the process differently, so it is difficult to give a completely accurate description of what you would experience. Common descriptions by authors state that you will enter a trance state.

Many first time participants are surprised that this feels completely normal and that they remain in control during the trance. The trance state is designed to be relaxing, while using confusing language to switch you conscious mind off and focus your subconscious mind. From here we can use either direct suggestion or subtle metaphors to guide you to positive outcomes. For example if you have fear of swimming in the open water, a direct suggestion would be “you have the confidence that you can glide effortlessly through water” or a metaphor related to “swimming like a dolphin”


What it is not?

  • Sport hypnosis is not like a stage show act. No you will not cluck like a chicken when you hear a bell ring or forget that the number 7 even existed.
  • You do not give up control
  • You will not reveal your deepest secrets
  • If you don’t want to hypnotized you will not be
  • You will not be stuck in a trance forever

Why would you use it?

  • Build confidence in your ability
  • Remove fears or anxieties
  • Increase your enjoyment while participating
  • Break through limitations
  • Make better choices in your lifestyle to improve performance
  • Assist in overcoming injury and returning to participation