Do you ever get nervous before playing in a soccer game? Do you get the yips before playing golf? Do you become anxious before participating in a basketball tournament or tennis match?
If so, then you may well be experiencing sports performance anxiety, a very common problem among athletes.
Now, being a little nervous can be good. It shows that we care, and that we have high standards. It may even motivate us to practice more. It can also keep us focused, thus allowing us to play better.
But sometimes, the worrying gets out of control. When that happens, we may experience the “flight or fight phenomenon.” That’s right! We may notice our hearts racing, some trouble breathing, “butterflies” in our stomach, and/or our muscles getting tight. We may then have trouble concentrating, and trouble focusing. And that can lead to not performing at our best.
The good news is: sports hypnosis may help!
This is the use of hypnotherapy, also known as visualization, guided imagery, mental imagery, or guided meditation, to improve your performance. Virtually all elite athletes utilize this technique.
You may be wondering, “How does it work?”
Patients choose a specific therapeutic goal, such as, “I want to serve better,” or, “I want to putt better,” or “I want to pass and shoot better.” Then, we help them to create an empowering experience, in their minds, that allows them to realize that they are able to do something that they didn’t realize they could do. And, sports hypnosis is like any other skill that needs to be learned and practice.
I tell my patients, “I’m your coach. And I’m going to teach you certain skills. And, just like kicking a soccer ball, or playing the piano, the more you practice, the better you get at it.
And the more you practice, the easier it gets.
And the more you practice, the faster you get at it.”
I have had the privilege of helping patients of all ages, and all levels of ability. This includes kids, middle-age kids, high schoolers, college students, middle-aged adults, “Weekend warriors,” Olympians, and professional athletes.
Name a sport, and I’ve probably coached it. Not from the field or the arena, but from my office!
This includes individual sports, as well as team sports. And, when you think about it, even someone playing on a team wants to focus on their own individual performance.
I’ve worked with individuals participating in soccer, football, basketball, baseball, track and field (including shot put), swimming, water polo, racquetball, marathons, and even equestrian show jumping.
I incorporate medical hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy strategies, and powerful, motivational tools.
Typically, there is significant improvement after only 1 to 3 visits.
And, what is even more important is, rather than simply taking a temporary pill, patients learn a lifetime skill that they’ll be able to use in the future in ways that they’re not even aware of.
To learn more about sports hypnosis, click here.
To contact Dr. Lazarus, click here.