Maximizing Athletic Potential
Hypnosis can be used by an athlete in many ways. When hypnosis is part of a treatment plan, healing is promoted following an injury or a surgery. It can also be utilized in sports by encouraging visualization to help a top athlete commit the steps of success into the subconscious mind and facilitate the realization of victory. In order to achieve a goal, one must have a clear image of what that goal is.
There are many other ways that hypnosis can help the athlete. These include development of physical skills and attributes, attitude changes that create success, and personal training for the mind. In short, each athlete has an “optimal zone of functioning” that is both physical and mental. This hypnosis session will help to maximize your athletic potential.
Hypnosis is not a mystical or strange state. Each day, we enter into hypnosis on our own. It can be experienced through relaxation, concentration, or the use of our imagination. We use our subconscious mind to help us to complete tasks on a daily basis. After all, we drive a car entirely with the subconscious mind. We do not have to relearn how to drive each morning. To take a break from the stress of the day, many of us daydream. We also give our undivided attention to certain tasks or responsibilities. These are all hypnotic processes. Hypnosis is not a single activity or event and people experience hypnosis in ways that are unique to them. The purpose of this session is not to create a specific feeling or experience, but rather to help you achieve your own zone of optimal functioning. The real value in this training is not the time you will spend in this session. The value lies in the skills that you learn and your ability to replicate them in times of athletic performance.
You do not have to try to be hypnotized. All you have to do is listen and experience the suggestions I make. The results will speak for themselves.
Begin with eye fixation, as it will be referred to later in the session.
For some time now, you have desired to live up to your highest potential in your chosen sport. Inside each athlete is a special part that desires to perform at optimal function. Tapping into this creative, intuitive, and dynamic part of you is entirely possible. After all, you have already taken the first step by coming for this session in order to begin the training of your mind. In Western thought, we tend to make a distinction between the mind and body when training. However, the reality is that separating the mind from the body is impossible on the field, in a game, or in a competition. In each and every athletic event, you take with you both mind and body.
It is amazing how many times we hear people who are not athletes, using sports performance metaphors. We hear politicians talk about “crossing the finish line” and ministers tell us how to handle life when we “bowl a gutter ball”. We hear salespeople talk about a “slam dunk”. The reason sports metaphors are so often used in everyday conversation is simple; people intuitively know that creating a great life is a lot like creating a great performance. Have you ever thought about how metaphors from life can help you understand your game better? Increasing your ability is as “easy as pie” and this process of mental training will “fit you like a glove”. As you relax, listening to each and every word, creating pictures with your mind, or simply taking the time to experience the lessons in this session without paying particular attention to the words that I use, you will be adding new chapters to your book of success.
Transitional Deepener: 5-4-3-2-1-0
I am going to give you many suggestions throughout the rest of this session. These suggestions do not come from me, but rather they are suggestions you have asked me to make for you by coming to this session. They may be suggestions that I speak, but they are yours; coming from within you and helping you to experience success each day, in every way.
Suggestions for Physical Healing and Wellness
By creating this state of deep relaxation and concentration, you can really listen to your body. Hear yourself breathing slowly, smoothly, and rhythmically. Feel the heaviness in every muscle of your body as you relax and see yourself as you are, deeply relaxed. Continue this relaxation. Let go of any remaining tension and allow yourself to be comfortable in this moment. By listening to and stilling the body, you can become aware of the restorative work the body does on a daily basis. It heals sore muscles, giving life to each cell of the body. Feel a sense of wellness increase in every muscle and cell.
Each day, healing takes place as we sleep and as we flush our body with the water of life. Each day, our bodies are restored by proper nutrition, feeding wellness into every aspect of our bodies. Of course, this is very important to an athlete. This is the natural healing our bodies are designed to create and you control this each and every day, in each and every way. You can control this by drinking ample water, maintaining healthy eating patterns, and getting enough rest. You can also promote healing and wellness that will equip your body to experience maximum performance. It can help you at any time in the days or weeks before a big event, or after injury, to just let your body heal as you are doing now. Notice what it feels like to watch the body restore itself. It’s almost as if you can hear the growth in muscle, the silent movement of flexible joints, and the voice of your cells cheering for recovery.
Suggestions for Managing Performance Anxiety
In the past, you may have found yourself comfortable in solitary practice or comfortable performing with your teammates. However, you might have felt differently at the time of a big game or when performing in front of a crowd. These situations are, in fact, different. It makes perfect sense that one might feel different in front of a crowd than when in practice. Even though it makes sense for these situations to feel different, it is quite possible for you to recognize that you are still the same you, regardless of which situation you find yourself in.
Anytime you find yourself uncomfortable before a crowd, take a moment to see the “you” that you are in practice. Bring that experience into the moment by simply visualizing that “you” from practice, running into the “you” in front of the crowd. Perhaps you have seen a Hollywood science-fiction movie, where a character from a different time and place runs to catch a character that is under stress in the present. In Hollywood, they often let that old self merge fully into the new self to add power, stamina, and confidence.
Right now, right here, as you listen to this session, let yourself feel a sense of confidence. Think back to a practice or a scene where you performed your very best. Perhaps it was alone, with others, or even with teammates. Simply pay attention to the feeling you had in that moment of confidence, success, and feeling comfortable with your growing abilities. Do you feel that sense of confidence now? Perfect.
Any feeling you can create here while listening to this session, you can create at any time in any situation, even during a big event. You can test this immediately before your next performance by noticing what it feels like to bring the power of the “you” in this moment, into that situation.
Suggestions for Increasing Concentration and Focus
Just as you practice the movements of a sport, you must also practice the art of concentration and focus. At any moment during a busy game or event, the unwavering focus of top performers is a trait consistent with success. You may already have an easy time with this, or you may find that you are one of the many people with a wandering mind who may have had difficulties focusing. I used the past tense here, because now you have committed to learning something new. In fact, you have already taken action on this by choosing to experience hypnosis.
Just as your diligence in athletic skill has helped you increase your potential, you have made the determination to increase your acuity in this area as well. The results are predictable. Any time we endeavor to improve and take the time to do this, we will always make improvement. This is an axiom that has been proven time after time. In fact, you have begun by attending this session and focusing on a place on the far wall. Just as easily as you can bring your attention to something as meaningless as a spot on the far wall, you will find it easy to focus your attention on something important during any big event.
There is something you do each day without thinking about it. You have done it each day since the day you were born and will continue to do it each day for the rest of your life. This is, of course, breathing. One way to practice attention and concentration skills is to intentionally draw your attention to something mundane and automatic like our breath. So right now, right here, pay attention to your breathing. Notice that as you slowly inhale, you can feel the air in each nostril and feel its pathway through the back of your throat and into your lungs. Visualize each breath, like a swimmer turning at the end of a lap, becoming an exhale in the lungs. Pay attention to the way it feels to expel this air. Breathe each breath in and then out.
Each and every morning, start your day by taking two or three minutes to focus on your breath. Find a comfortable chair to sit in and pay attention to your breath for a few minutes. If you find your mind wandering or drifting, bring your attention back to your breath. This daily practice will help you to develop a new automatic skill, the skill of attention or mindfulness to the moment. You will find that the result is an increased concentration and focus in every activity of the day and the ability to simply choose where you place your attention, even in athletic practice or performance.
Suggestions for Maximizing Performance
The research has shown that top athletes find an optimal zone for both physical ability and mental sharpness. This level is achieved by using the subconscious mind to perfect your performance. As you engage in your chosen sport, you want it to be like driving a car or breathing. It is just something you do automatically. Visualization is a tremendous way of moving towards your own zone of optimal performance. The amazing thing about the mind is that anything that is a reality had to be an idea first. For you to function at your highest level of performance, that idea must be rehearsed.
Take a moment to see yourself as you know you can be. Imagine you are watching yourself on a large movie screen, as you sit comfortably in a theatre. Watch images of yourself in that zone of perfect physical functioning and mental security. See yourself engaging in your sport and doing what you love. Feel the excitement and hear the crowd cheering you on.
Now, think of a shot, a play, or a maneuver that has been difficult for you. Imagine you are watching a movie of yourself, flawlessly executing every aspect and attribute of that feat. Imagine a movie where each and every time, you perform just perfectly. Watch yourself execute success in every aspect of that performance. We are now going to watch this mental move three times, in slow motion.
First, see yourself without sound in that moment of perfection. Pay attention to your legs, your arms, your head, and your eyes. See yourself mastering your sport and achieving perfect success, in every way.
Now, stop the movie. Play it a second time. This time, listen to your breath, your body, and hear the cues that lead you into a perfect connection. Now, stop.
Play the mental movie again. However, imagine that you are stepping into the screen. Imagine the image of yourself that you have been watching, fully become you. Feel the sweat, effort, and the connection you make. Feel every muscle in your body succeed with its greatest capacity. Now, stop. Perfect.
By creating this idea and practicing these exercises, you have begun the process of turning thoughts into real experiences. Whatever the mind can conceive, the body can achieve. Over the next day or two, take some time to practice this exercise over and over again. You will, of course, find that the results maximize your performance. You will be at the apex of your success during practice and at the critical moments.
Suggestions for Functioning on a Team (Indirect suggestion using a metaphor)
Before we conclude, I am reminded of something that happened to me years ago. I had a meeting to go to that was very important. I was in a different city and staying in a motel near the highway. There were many truck drivers, workers, and other people who were all checking out in the morning, enjoying the free coffee at the motel. I got in my car, but it just wouldn’t start. Because my car was a stick shift, I knew that I could roll the car and pop the clutch to start the car and make it to my meeting. Although I was with a friend, she was not strong enough to roll the car with any speed. I couldn’t help since I had to sit in the driver’s seat to pop the clutch. A few of the other guests were paying attention to what must have been a comical sight. One large construction worker came out to help. He helped to push the car into a position where it could be rolled. However, it was an older car and very heavy. Therefore, the first attempt just didn’t have enough speed and failed. Two or three of the other guys in the lobby emerged and began pushing my car. Even though there was no hill in sight, with all of this help I was able to get the car going. Of course, the lesson here is something you already know; that as a team we can accomplish much more than we can as an individual. By paying attention to the needs of other members and each member playing the right part, we can accomplish something together that is important to all.
Sports Performance: Circle of Confidence
Now that you are feeling completely relaxed and in control, think back to a time when you were successful at your sporting activities, a time when you reached and then exceeded your personal performance expectations. Everyone cheered for you because you did so well. That was one of the happiest times for you because you were in control and confident. You knew what to do, how to do it, and you did it well. Now, recreate the very emotions that you felt at that time. Re-experience the power you felt, the success you achieved, and the excitement of the moment. Allow yourself to feel those feelings again, now.
Now, imagine a stick of chalk in your hand. With that chalk, draw a big white circle. Just seeing this circle instantly creates wonderful feelings for you. This is your circle of confidence and success. You will always have a stick of chalk with you in your mind and you can draw this big white circle around you and your game at anytime you wish, for the rest of your life.
Step into your circle. Feel the power and control of the circle. From this point forward, when you are inside your circle you will instantly begin to feel confident and successful, just as you have felt before when you performed so well. From this point forward, anytime you begin to feel anxiety, worry, or stress about your game or abilities, you can simply step into your circle of confidence and those worries and stressors will simply melt away. Instead, you will feel confident, successful, and refreshed. You know how to play the game and you know what it takes to do well. You have confidence in your ability to succeed with every move you make. When you step into that big white chalk circle that surrounds you and your game, you will be able to take consistent action to achieve your sports performance goals.
* At this point you can add a suggestive script, deepener, or an awakening.
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