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Better Golf Through Hypnosis:

Better golf through hypnosis
By Joan A. King correspondent
January 28, 2004

How would you like to play your best game of golf, enjoy the day and win?

Controlling your mind is the key to great golf. Most golfers view the mental game as the last resort. Few golfers will naturally have the mental skills to produce their best rounds consistently.

Mental coaching helps you perform better by teaching skills used by world-class golfers. It helps golfers who feel they don't have any control and those who want to play better by improving their focus, concentration, consistency and course-management skills.

Why use hypnosis?

Hypnosis has proven to be the easiest, quickest and most proven way to great mental golf.

Over the past 20 years the scoring abilities of the average American golfer have remained about the same. This is surprising considering all the new technology, biomechanical understanding of the swing and improved teaching aids and methods.

What has not changed?

Our thinking process. About 90 percent of the thoughts we think today are the same ones we had yesterday. Our poor golf games are still dominated by negative thoughts and feelings learned in our past and enhanced by our golfing environment. This is why we see the same patterns emerging over and over in our golf games.

How, then, do we change our thinking process?

UCLA research shows the average person only uses 2 percent of his brainpower. The rest is stored in the subconscious mind. By understanding how the subconscious mind works, you can access the other 98 percent.

The subconscious is the part of your mind that controls the physical movements of your golf swing, just as it has control of your breathing, heartbeat and other internal functions.

Since golf is such a mental game, how can you access this part that controls your body?

Hypnotic suggestion can help you communicate with your subconscious mind and program new ideas in your golf game for success. These new ideas must include positive self-talk, belief in your potential, having a reachable goal, and visualization of superior performance in accomplishing your goal.

How does it work?

Hypnosis is a natural state of life. You have been in trance several times today. You just may not have called it hypnosis. Anytime you move from an outward perception to an inner awareness, you enter trance.

Some of the natural states of trance we encounter are: highway trance, electronic trance (TV, computer, video games), movie trance, reading trance, eating trance, a boring meeting or conversation, doing two things at the same time, watching the sunset or ocean, daydreaming, boredom or looking at a holographic picture. Anytime you go into your own world and imagination, you are going into hypnosis.

You practice hypnotism every day with the things you say to yourself and others. You hypnotize yourself with repetitive actions and thoughts. This is called auto-suggestion. Advertisers are the master hypnotists. Parents hypnotize their children with verbal and nonverbal conditioning.

When a golfer is in the right state of mind, he can access his peak performance. The zone happens when performance is motivated by the subconscious mind. Playing "in the zone," golfers feel as if they are in a trance. They experience being on automatic pilot as if someone else is swinging the golf club.

Hypnosis is a skill, like reading or writing that anyone can easily learn. Hypnosis techniques put you in charge of your natural ability to enter trance. In hypnosis, positive suggestions are introduced while in a trance-

like state. Contrary to popular belief, you are not asleep. Your mind is actually in a heightened state of awareness while the physical body is relaxed.

In this state, the conscious mind is bypassed and positive suggestions are given directly to the subconscious mind. By this process, a new habit of mental programming is established and can be accessed without interference from the conscious mind, which analyzes, criticizes, judges, and rationalizes.

Your subconscious mind is like a computer. It has to operate on this programming.

The use of hypnosis in sports is nothing new

Hypnosis has been around since 350 A.D. In Egypt, people were put into sleep chambers for several days and given messages while they slept.

In 1841, prior to the discovery of anesthesia, Dr. James Braid, a Scottish physician and surgeon, coined the word "hypnosis" from the Greek "hypnos," which means "sleep."

He developed the technique to relax and focus his patients on a single positive thought or image which distracted them from the pain of surgery.

In 1955, the British Medical Association approved the use of hypnosis in the field of medicine, followed by approval of the American Dental Association in 1957 and the American Medical Association in 1958.

In Russia in 1935, Professor Emanuel Orlick introduced sports hypnosis to thousands of world-class athletes and hundreds of coaches from every country in the world who were gathered there in opposition to Adolf Hitler's 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

The Russians were excluded from the games and did not participate until 1952, but showed up at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games with 11 sports hypnotists. They dominated the games until the breakup of the Soviet Union.

At the 1972 Munich Olympics, the East German women dominated their events through highly developed mental and psychological preparation built around relaxation and suggestion. The Sweden Golf Federation presently teaches meditation, yoga, and self-hypnosis in its junior golf program.


Jack Nicklaus has been quoted as saying his mind is his strongest weapon in making him a champion.

Tiger Woods' mental coach, Dr. Jay Brunza, began hypnotizing him at age 13 to block out distractions and focus completely on the golf course.

Phil Mickelson is a superstar who was nurtured and affirmed as a child and programmed by his mental coach and hypnotist Dean Reinmuth.

Chuck Hogan, a PGA member, changed his golf schools to incorporate more mental training and hypnosis than swing training. He is a golf coach to more than 60 PGA, LPGA and Senior Tour players.

• Boxing legend Muhammad Ali used self-hypnotism when he proclaimed, "I am the greatest!" and "Float like a butterfly! Sting like a bee!"

Bob Reese, as head trainer and hypnotherapist for the New York Jets, used relaxation and visualization techniques to reprogram the players' subconscious minds.

• Tennis player Jimmy Connors used hypnosis to win the U.S. Open Championship.

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Joan King of Jupiter is the founder and president of Positive Mental Imagery. King can be reached at (561) 747-7276 or by e-mail (pmi4@att.net). Visit the PMI Web site at (www.pmi4.com).

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