Question: I've read a good deal on Sport Psychology, but with the exception of visualization, I haven't heard of these techniques before. Where do they come from, and why haven't I heard of them?
Answer: That's probably more of a loaded question than you might think. Let's sneak up on the answer.
Unfortunately, academic programs are not immune from political pressure.
In the 1980's, Sport Psychology was fighting for acceptance as a genuine academic program. As a result, it focused on accepted techniques, such as, stress management, repetition, and dietary adjustments. Visualization was mentioned so often by leading sports figures that it was included as a primary technique.
During that period, hypnosis techniques weren't well accepted. In fact, they were considered downright shady. In 1981, one major league hitting coach rebuffed me with, "We don't do any of that goofy stuff. We focus on fundamentals."
At about the same time, however, the works of Richard Bandler and John Grinder were beginning to untangle the hypnosis writings of Milton Erickson. They were able to identify how some suggestions got into the mind and others didn't. (I'm sure they would shudder at this gross oversimplification.) These concepts offered the first real insight into sport performance and issues like slumps and distractions.
Unfortunately, hypnosis is still considered questionable in the more traditional academic fields. As a result, most sport psychologists haven't even heard of Milton Erickson.
Bandler and Grinder were the first to talk about representational systems (visual, auditory, feeling) and how they altered our ability to take in information. These methods were a perfect fit for "finding your groove" techniques.
Question: Here's your own question: What's next?
Answer: I'd love to expand Sport Psychology's vision into the world of hypnosis. To that end, my next writing effort is entitled, Run Like a Chicken: The Use of Hypnosis in Sports.
At the least, I like the title.
Question: You're not charging for the on-line book. What's the catch? How are you making money?
Answer: Good question.
I feel I have information that needs to be made available. It would be an incredible waste for players to fail in their sports because they couldn't do mental things like breaking out of a slump.
I have enough savings to survive. Amazon offers commissions on the book citations, so that may trickle in some cash. I'm hoping the concepts are so good, so helpful to players, that other opportunities will surface.
Question: How can I be sure about my Focus Style?
Answer: There is a simple test.
Pick a precise performance activity, like making a shot in pool. Try the shot with each Focus Style. For example, see the color of the balls, and shoot; listen to the noise around you, and shoot; and feel the weight of the stick in your hand, and then shoot.
One of those adjustments should produce better results than the others.
Don't forget that your style may vary by sport. Your pool shooting adjustment may not work for other sports. But the testing principle is still valid. You may need to create a test for each sport.
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