Matthew Cahill has helped many sports people over the years and still continues to work with top athletes. He has had experience with various athletes such as footballers, golfers, dancers and boxers. The use of mental training offers some encouraging and useful insights into how hypnosis can be used to good effect. Perhaps the first thing we should realise is that hypnosis could never replace physical practice, such skills can be enhanced with the skilful use of hypnotherapy.
“Mental training as a back up is important because there can be inherent limitations to physical training” says Matthew, quite often it can be difficult for a top class performer or even an aspiring athlete to find the necessary time to hone their skills.
Sometimes the amount of practice needed to achieve what they would like to achieve puts too much physical strain on the body, this is one of the areas where the use of mental training can step into help. In the USA as part of a research programme two groups of college basketball students came together to improve their scoring skills. Their starting skills were carefully analysed. One group met for thirty minutes each dat for mental rehearsal, during the period of study they never once handled the basketball.
At the end of the study period when their skills were analysed again the results were nearly identical to the second group which spent the study period using the basketball. both groups had improved considerably as a result of their intensive training, just imagine what could be achieved if the two styles of training were skilfully brought together says Matthew.
Like all forms of training, mental training has to be carried out conscientiously and with discipline and the ability to be able to train mentally can be learned quickly, painlessly by everyone. As quoted by David Newton and Steve de Shazer “All of us have within us amazing mind and body powers that all too often are hardly utilised.
Sometimes they are brought into play when an emergency demands it, every news paper has on record eyewitness accounts of people who have performed incredible feats of strength and stamina or shown immense courage than faced with a life or death situation. Hypnosis can enable us to activate these mechanisms of skill and endeavour, with practice each of us can boost our normal mind body levels in so many ways.
Hypnotherapy ultimately is the practical application of hypnosis to achieve certain goals and working with an athlete is in so many ways analogous to our work helping people generally.
Perhaps the greatest help is the benefit of increased confidence due to an awareness of our own inherent abilities, we are all aware that the difference between a confident athlete and one that is in doubt. “Sportsmen and women can do better than they think” “but only if they think they can do better” says Matthew.