Well, you may have noticed that there is a little sporting event going on at the moment in London. I think it is called the Olympic Games?

Here we have the people who are best in the world at what they do competing against one another to win the coveted “Olympic Gold Medal”. Can NLP (and other psychological tools) help you improve your chances of winning?

There are three factors that influence our sporting ability:

  • Physical Fitness
  • Technical skills
  • Mental skills

Although many sports performers will spend a lot of their time on their fitness and technical skills, the mental side of the game is often neglected. I said in this recent post about Andy Murray at Wimbledon, at the highest level of sport, it is rarely the physical ability of the sports person that wins them the medal, but their mental and emotional strength.

As Timothy Gallwey puts it in his seminal book on sports performance psychology “Inner Game of Tennis”:

“In every human endeavour there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.”

NLP can help you understanding this connection between the mind and the body and how to use your mind to improve your sporting ability.

By changing the way we think when we approach a game we can learn to:

  • Enhance our self-belief
  • Deal with how we respond to errors
  • Set more effective goals
  • Maintain a positive “winning” attitude
  • Mentally rehearse to get yourself in “zone”

Remember, much like the physical aspect of sports, these may be “simple” techniques, but they are not “easy”. Training your mind to hep you achieve success is as important as training your body and requires the same level of dedication and effort. Many sports people have tried and failed to implement psychological tools and techniques because they have not given the mental aspect of the training the respect it deserves and think just some simple “visualisation” before a game is all they need…

How can you learn NLP and use it to improve your skills? You can either do one to one sessions with an NLP Practitioner who specialises in sports performance, or undertake an NLP training course to learn the skills for yourself.

If, physically, you and your opponent are equally matched, can you afford not to develop your winning mental skills?

**Please note: I am not a “Sports Psychologist”, nor do I make any claims to be one. “Sports Psychologist” is a protected name under HPC (Health Professionals Council) guidelines. For more details please visit their website at www.hpc-uk.org**