Hypnosis has been widely used in sport since the 1950s. It has been widely documented that the Soviet team took no fewer than eleven hypnotherapists to the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. Since this time a many of the world's leading sports performers have used hypnosis to improve their mental approach. Tiger Woods has used hypnosis from a very early age and once stated that “hypnosis is inherent in everything I do now”.
In a sense, any sports performer who uses mental rehearsal to prepare for competition has used hypnosis as, to mentally rehearse an event, you have to take on a trance state.
It is highly significant that it has been found that there is a correlation between hypnosis and the ‘zone’ state that sports performers refer to when they are playing to their highest level. When sports performers are in the zone, their predominant brainwaves are Alpha brainwaves which are at a frequency of between 8-12Hz (cycles per second), the same brain state that most people access when they enter a state of light trance. Many sports performers describe the zone as being in a kind of bubble, where everything is easy and effortless, time seems to slow down and it is almost as if some other force has taken over their body. These are all examples of deep trance phenomena associated with hypnosis.
The ability to enter trance is therefore an extremely useful feature of peak performance and athletes need to train their ability to enter trance states to improve their mental ability in the same way that they need to train their muscles to enhance their strength and endurance. The most successful athletes are the ones who can put themselves into the most effective trance to perform.
The Sporting Mind - Mental Training for Sport