NLP in Sports Training: Improve Swim Team Performance - The First NLP Session

by Pool Builders on 05-05-2011 in Articles

The smell of chlorine in the air as I approached the pool building (natatorium - there's a $6 word for you!) brought back fond memories of swimming years ago. The coach said, "They are all here, and on time. They must be excited!" That's a good start. We all piled into a small room off the side of the pool, ready for our first NLP group session.

I had the nine of them fill out a short questionnaire that asked them their goals and challenges. I asked a power-packed question: What would have to happen so that at the end of our training together, you would say "Wow, that program really made a difference in my swimming."

Their main desired outcomes included:

  • Greater Focus (3 swimmers)
  • Maintain a positive outlook (2 swimmers)
  • Motivation (2 swimmers)
  • Lower Stress
  • Give 100%

Having planned this session without knowing these goals, and going on what the coach said, we worked on pre-event anxiety.

I asked each one:

  • When specifically they feel anxiety.
  • How they feel stress - how does it start, its bodily location

Each one could see that the others experienced it in different ways at different times. This was a perfect time to introduce the idea of choice in how they feel at any give time.

1. I then taught them centering and grounding. I demonstrated with one of the swimmers how when her energy is in her head that I could push her easily. Then I asked her to ground herself (imagine she was looking up from under the floor up at herself). I then tried to push her, she would not budge. This made a tangible point about grounding.

I asked them to simply imagine the center-line of their body. That is a simple centering technique. I made the techniques "cool" by mentioning that they are from martial arts.

2. At that point we went over Hakalau, which is a cool sounding technique that has the practitioner go into peripheral vision. I had them all think about something that was bothering them. We went into Hakalau. They noticed that their problem or stress went away. Note: One swimmer did say he could not think of a problem.

3. The third technique I showed them for relaxation at the swim meets is a simple hypnotic self-induction (this means that they relax and get into a more resourceful state) that brings one back to the present moment. It involves being aware of what you feel, what you see and what you hear.

They seemed to enjoy it. I went over physical signals for each of the techniques in hopes they would remember them. I may make a video of all three for them.

After the group meeting, I met with two swimmers individually. What was going to be half hour sessions turned into a 45 minute and a 1-hour session. I will know the actual results when I see them next week.

The best part is getting to know these motivated young people and the coach. I feel blessed to be able to inspire their own genius minds.

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