Depending on what team you root for, today is (or yesterday was) Opening Day for Major League Baseball. Early-April games have a much different feel to them compared to the warm, humid, hot-dog fragrant air of summertime. And a lot of ballgames will take place between now and early fall. It's at this point that many managers already speak about how while it's early in the season, every games counts. Players--fresh from training during the offseason and spring training itself--comment on the fact that regardless of what time it is in the season, they need to perform well at every opportunity.
When you think about it...it is grueling. For at least 162 games, with maybe a day or two off thrown into the mix, players are expected to perform well at every at bat, with every pitch, catch, throw, and hustle. Errors aren't welcome (unless it's committed by the other team)...and if a player commits one...the scorekeepers will remind everyone about it on the Jumbotron, placing that negative mark in it's own special category--right next to the positive marks of runs and hits. And no sooner after "it" happens, the game moves on--the player expected to let it go and concentrate on the next play.
As a former little leaguer (that's as far as I moved up!), I had my share of bad plays. Really. bad. plays. And just because the next batter in the lineup stood up at the plate, there was no guarantee I was ready to concentrate on what was to come next. I was still thinking about how I terribly misjudged where that line drive would land. I was still thinking about how I missed the cut-off by throwing to third. And I was thinking how all of that would have been avoided if the pitcher just threw ball 4 instead of a pitch right down the middle of the plate.
Athletes--in baseball or in any sport--require a certain mentality to concentrate or compete well. Otherwise, the mind will continually suggest images of failure and defeat--oftentimes then leading to actual failure and real defeat. How then can athletes build up a mindset to compete and concentrate well game after game?
One way is through hypnosis. Michael Yapko (2012) cites that two uses of using hypnosis in sports is by: 1) giving the athlete precise control over his/her body (highlighting the awareness between mind and body), and 2) building positive images, expectations, and communication with one's self. Put simply, hypnosis isn't about providing "extra talent"; it's about amplifying the talent an athlete already has--providing greater access to as much of that talent as possible.
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