Roger* sent me a text yesterday with the simple message “Done it!” after his first ever triathlon. Given that I’m not a personal trainer, or ever likely to be mistaken for one, why had he sent that message to me?
It started a month ago when Roger mentioned to me that he was entered for a triathlon. His training was going well, but he was worried that he’d not left enough time, and that he might not have the stamina to overcome the physical discomfort that he felt on his longer training running, cycling, and swimming.
I’m no sports coach, but I do know about the psychology of sport. Muhammad Ali famously used to train for his fights not just physically but mentally as well. He would rehearse them over and over in his mind so that when he told his opponent that he’d knock them out in the fourth round he’d imagined it so many times that for him it was already true. Roger had already told me that a lot of the triathlon was about mental toughness, and so I suggested that we use some of the same techniques to prepare for his triathlon.
Roger researched the triathlon and came up with a series of landmarks that helped him to imagine the route and see himself at every stage including the finish line. I recorded a session that he listened to at night where he relaxed and then experienced the triathlon, with all of the landmarks and sights, and ended with him crossing the finishing line and feeling fantastic. The more he listened to this the more the idea and feeling of success became real to him.
The day before he listened to a different session, which taught him to block any discomfort by bringing back the thrill of crossing the finishing line, and which told him that he’d sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and confident.
On the day of the triathlon Roger awoke, having dreamed of his success, not feeling nervous but looking forward to completing his triathlon. “All the time I was running it” he told me later “I kept seeing myself completing the next section, and I knew for a fact that I’d finish”. I’m not taking as much credit as Roger gave me for his success – he still had to go out and do it, what I did was help him to make his mind as ready for success as his body.
If you would like to discuss or know any more about using hypnotherapy to improve your sport performance , please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation chat.
Roger’s real identity has been protected, and he is happy to share his story.