(This is the third in a continuing series of wellness articles and it can empower our lives, athletic performance, careers and relationships.)
By Terry Carter
Who has reached the pinnacle of their sport and used the power of the mind to get there?
The better question is, “Who hasn’t become a mindset master and still became a gold medalist or hall of fame athlete? Not many. The challenge is most people won’t admit that they are still learning when they are quality athletes in high school, college — let alone a pro standout.
Mindset exercises like mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis have been administered by therapists and psychologists for more than 60 years to help athletes with the following:
- Reinforcing goals, achievement of goals
- Handle nervousness, contribute to relaxation
- Facilitates stress management regardless of challenge
- Increases concentration
- Eliminates distractions
- Assists in pain control during competition
- Improve body awareness
- Heightens mental awareness, response times
To help out, let me just few well-known athletes who used visualization, hypnosis or self-hypnosis, meditation of mental exercise to improve their world-class skills:
- Mohammad Ali, regarded as the best heavyweight boxer of all-time. He learn hypnosis from fellow boxing great Ken Norton after Norton handed Ali just his second career loss in a 1973 upset.
- Jack Nicklaus, who holds the all-time record for golf’s Major Championship victories. Not even Tiger Woods holds as many major titles. Nicklaus used visualization before swinging the club to envision his swing, the flight of the ball and its final landing point while standing behind the golf ball. Nicklaus also used hypnosis to improve his concentration.
- Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame fastball pitcher for several MLB baseball team including the Angels, Astros and Rangers. Ryan holds the all-time strikeout record and played a phenomenally long, healthy career as a power pitcher. He set the standard that still remains today.
- Lee Haney, 8-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion among champions in the 1980s. His wins were dominant and eight years in a row. Haney was one of many world champion bodybuilders who wrote or stated that the body will respond to thought before working out. Corey Everson is another multiple world champion.
- Michael Jordan, regarded as one of the best and complete basketball players of all-time. Playing as a Chicago Bull, Jordan was a scoring and dunking phenomenon, as well as a talented defender. Jordan and his Bull teammates used meditation/hypnosis recommended by coach Phil Jackson, who led the Bulls and Lakers to numerous NBA basketball championships. NBA stars Kobie Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal also used the art to unlock their best pro performances.
- Tennis legends Jimmy Connors, Billie Jean King and Andre Agassi are among several major champions.
- Baseball Hall of Fame athletes using meditation and/or hypnosis include George Brett, Rod Carew, Bill Buckner, Mark McGuire, Maury Wills and others.
- Gymnasts like Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug. Both mentally rehearsed their event performances vividly in their minds and then executed them to near-perfection. Strug, as you may recall, handed her final vault on one ankle after injuring herself on the second-to-last vault for Team USA in 1992.
- NFL standouts know to use hypnosis included Jack Youngblood, the feared Pittsburgh Steelers, Ronnie Lott and numerous quarterbacks.
- Katy, Texas’ own Walton Glenn Eller is said to have won the Olympic Gold Medal and set two Olympic records in men’s doubles trap shooting with this mindset upgrade.
Note: In our next article, we will focus on the key elements for a brief, yet effective session of focus-enhancing, mental exercises.
Check in for more details on how careers, relationships, testing scores and athletic achievement can be positively impacted. Call World Wellness Today Monday-Thursday from 9-11 a.m. or 3-4 p.m. to set a free consultation. To register for a free, coaching clinic in four weekly appointments, email UDTherapy@gmail with with your information.