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A NLP Technique To Improve Your Sports Performance

As Brighton holds regular full and half marathon’s I often see clients to help improve their physical and mental sports performance and deal with pre race anxiety, so they can do their best on the day.

One of the big concerns people have is worrying how they will do on the day. I imagine almost every performer, no matter whether they are at the highest level in their field or simply an enthusiast, will have days that go well and some where they feel could have gone better.

Focusing on what makes us perform better on good days is the best starting point for improving our physical and mental performance, rather than thinking about what went wrong. 

The best way to do this is using the power of our senses by vividly remembering what it was like when you performed well, slowing it right down in your mind, to bring the experience back to life. By building it up and reconnecting your senses to the experience you are then allowing the mind to re-learn and create a positive association.

Here is a technique that will help you prepare and improve your sports performance:

Pick a specific memory of when you were running or performing particularly well. By closing your eyes you can focus on what you looked like, how you were feeling, how your body was moving and also the sounds and smells you might have had. Once you have really got the hang of replaying this past performance in your mind, trying alternating between all your senses.

Now increase the intensity of the memory by making the image bigger and brighter and closer to you. Focus on where the good feeling comes from in your body and make it even more powerful, allowing it to spread outwards, maybe with a colour associated with it. Also try focusing on the senses you find harder to access as this will help develop those senses too. If you are musical think of a song or tune that you can associate with the memory and just slot it in there at the appropriate point.

As you are going over this ask yourself what you can learn about this experience that will help you in the future? What particular movement, feeling, or sound perhaps has a positive association with that performance? Now go back over the experience and slow it all down. You will probably find a particular element of this memory that makes the experience especially positive for you. By doing all of this you ideally want to find that you finish with a short, snappy and really powerful movie you have formed in your mind, with a clear beginning and end.

Finally for the icing on the cake;

Using the above experience and with it slowed right down, observe yourself at the peak of your performance. Notice what it is about the image that makes it apparent you are at the peak of your performance. Your body language, your facial expression perhaps. Now imagine you can freeze the image like on a DVD. Step inside the image and imagine someone has pressed the slow play button, and enjoy being in the moment of that experience. Focus completely on the feeling in your body and any movements, making it even more intense. Enjoy that for a few moments then repeat by stepping outside the image, seeing yourself and then stepping back inside, however this time you want to anchor it by pressing your thumb and forefinger together hard. Let go and step out and in again at least once more again using the anchor.

The aim of this is to make this past memory much more powerful and vivid so that you create a really positive template to re-access in the future, when standing on the start line for instance. This technique is ideally done with someone guiding you, however even by simply re-accessing a positive experience, your mind will be developing a positive association for any future scenario.

Learn more about how I help people with performance coaching and the results you can expect or Contact me for your free telephone consultation.

By Lawrence Michaels

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