Last month, German newspaper „Darmstädter Tagblatt“ published an interview with one of Germany’s best swimmers, breaststroke champion Marco Koch. Koch is a 2013 silver medalist at the World Championships in Barcelona and the 2014 European Champion – both in the 200 m breaststroke. He trains in Darmstadt, Germany, with coach Alexander Kreisel and is going to swim his signature event at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan in August. The 25 year old Koch ranked 3rd in world this year in the 200 m breaststroke with a 2:08,57.
Looking at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Koch and his coach are trying new ways to improve perfomances: “In preparation for the Olympic Games I will certainly use Sports Hypnosis,” Koch said in the interview, which you can read here in its original German. “I feel better prepared and it helps me get my absolute top performances. With hypnosis I can find out where there are still hidden problems, because you get to know your body well and I’m able to bring myself into the right flow.”
There are many elite athletes who have been using Sports Hypnosis to enhance their perfomances – Mary Lou Retton and Tiger Woods are two examples. Sports Hypnosis can theoretically help the sportswomen and sportsmen to relax mentally, to free their mind and it is seen as a tool to control anxiety and manage stress.
Retton used Sports Hypnosis to visualize her performance and convince her mind that she could achieve the idea in her head – with the effect that ‘her brain trained her body to believe she could achieve a perfect routine.” (www.sporthypnosis.org) Tiger Woods has used Sports Hypnosis since the age of 13 “to calm his mind before golfing matches. He frees his mind from worry and pressure and this technique allows him to perform better.” (ww.sporthypnosis.org)
German alternative practioner Simone Lücke is the hypnosis coach of Marco Koch and she said this about the hypnosis method: “Hypnotized people do not sleep, they are also not unconscious or will-less. The body is totally relaxed, but the mind is awake and the subconscious receptive.” In this stage Lücke directs the subconscious with suggestions that are well chosen and pronounced sentences, to influence and change behaviours permanently in a positive way. Blockages, bad beliefs and distorted self-perception are resolved by replacing them with positive thoughts and better behavior patterns. Marcel Friedrich, an 18 year old training partner of Koch, stated: “We have been working on the swimming technique and thereby run through the motions several times. After hypnosis I went to training, but not thinking about the learned technique – nevertheless, a change was noticeable, the desired goal has been achieved. Now I can retrieve the technique at any time.”
The hypnosis coach thinks that it is important, in all situations in life, to be able to relax more quickly and then to achieve a higher mental capacity and thus ultimately perform better – measurably and subjectively.’
Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org) summarizes the effect of hypnosis as follows:
- helps to reinforce established sporting goals
- aids athletes to better handle nervousness
- contributes to relaxation
- facilitates stress management
- increases concentration
- provides the ability to eliminate distractions
- assists in controlling pain
- increases performance motivation
- improves bodily awareness
Marco Koch is going to swim at the French Open in Vichy, France, this weekend to test his form against international competitors and then will continue his preparation for the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, August 2-9.