Hypnosis and Sports Improvement

We have known about the link between the mental aspect of sports performance and the performance itself. As far back as 1932, studies were done which showed that when people imagined doing a physical activity, the muscles that would actually be used in that activity were electrically stimulated. 

Then in 1976, it was discovered that mental imagery could actually cause neural growth. And more recently, functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) studies have shown that imagery lights up the same pathways in the brain as the actual performance would. In recent years, there have been well over 200 studies on the effect of imagery on athletic performance.

A few examples of the use of hypnosis in sports:

The Soviet Union pioneered the use of hypnosis in athletics. In 1956, at the Olympics, the Soviets had 11 hypnotists working with their athletes.


In 1996 Steve Collins beat Chris Eubank for the Super-middleweight title. Collins worked with hypnotist  Dr. Tony Quinn, a former Champion bodybuilder. Suggestions were given to Collins to deliver two punches to Eubank’s one. In the fight Eubank threw 300 punches, Collins threw over 600. 
Sylvester Stallone worked with the famous hypnotherapist Gil Boyne while filmingRocky in 1975. 

Nigel Benn, WBC Super Middleweight Champion and Frank Bruno, WBC Heavyweight Champion both used hypnosis . Ken NortonKevin McBride, the Irish heavyweight boxing champion calls his hypnotist before every match.


Since childhood, Tiger Woods has used hypnosis. His mental coach Jay Brunza began teaching Woods hypnosis when he was  thirteen years old. Tiger said ‘We worked on a way to visualize the target and pull it back into my hands and body and let my subconscious react. That’s what’s best for me. It is inherent in what I do now.” Jack Niklaus credits hypnosis and visualization techniques as the sole reason for his improved concentration. Indian golfer, Gaganjeet Bhullar qualified for the 2009 British Open by using a hypnotherapist to program a winning mind set. Lee Travino, the Merry Mex (my very favorite!) was a great fan of hypnosis. Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw was once quoted as saying, “I’m about five inches away from being an outstanding golfer — that’s the distance my right ear is from my left one.” Arnold Palmer famously said, “90 percent of golf is played from the shoulders up.”

Baseball  and Football

Players from the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Islanders, Dallas Cowboys, Florida Marlins, New York Rangers, and others, have utilized the services of a hypnotist. Baseball players had been utilizing hypnotherapy in the 1970s. Minnesota Twins’, “Hall of Famer”, Rod Carew. Carew had been injured, and though the injury had healed, he continued to experience pain. It may have been psychosomatic, but real enough for him, which in turn caused a severe case of self-doubt. Hypnotist Harvey Misel, worked with Carew and helped him come back to the best season of his entire career, with a batting score of almost .400. Carew went on to win “The most valuable player award”! Hypnotist Misel was hired by the  White Sox, and at one point, claimed 200 clients in major-league baseball.


Tennis star Andre Agassi, worked extensively with Anthony Robbins, utilizing NLP and hypnosis. Jimmy Connors is said to have used hypnosis techniques to practice his winning strokes prior to the US Open Championship. Roger Federer, probably the best tennis player of all time. According to Federer, the reason for his success his implantation of mental imagery into his training practice.


Phil Jackson, coach of the Chicago Bulls had the team practice self-hypnosis every day. He coached Michael Jordon and the Bulls to six NBA Championships. The coach of the LA Lakers used hypnosis on his basketball team, including Kobe Bryant and Shaquil O’Neal. The Lakers went on to win three NBA championships in a row. 


Billy Mills 1964 Olympic gold medalist Q: What was the Olympic 10,000-meter race like? A: My race, I was just responding to four years of visualization. This was all before sports psychology. I just called it self-hypnosis.


Greg Louganis used hypnosis to become the most renowned diver of all time.

Examples could go on for a very long time. Hypnosis is firmly established both scientifically and in practice as a powerful method for enhancing sports performance of all types. Also, please visit Denver Sports Improvement.

Imagine what hypnosis could do for you!

I have experience with helping people in various sports to achieve higher levels of performance. Some have gone on to join the professional ranks. How can I help you?

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