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Several years ago I was counseling a professional bowler who was having a tough time with his game and needing to get back on track. Having heard about me from a friend, he agreed to come in for some hypno-therapy sessions.
After discussing his personal traits, angers, fears, and other details surrounding his slump, I wrote a session designed specifically for him. The words that I used were precisely to help him overcome some bad habits in his form, his anxiety about poor performance, his fears surrounding getting older, and his feeling of weakening after the second game.
He taught me a lot about what “perfect form” meant. We discussed in detail all of the errors bowlers generally make regarding their choices of where to stand, how to set up, changing balls, taking too long or too short to begin their approach, the number of perfect steps and footing before release, poor hand release form and improperly swinging their arm during the backswing. He told me that he could usually perform well without much preparation, but for some unknown reason he was twisting his arm and hand just before release. He told me in detail about many of his 300 games, the perfect score for a bowler. He was passionate about the sport he had been playing since he was a child. Now in his 60s and still part of the tour it was tough to compete with the younger stronger players and he lost his confidence.
We went over his entire set-up, how he wanted to look, how he wanted to feel, what the ball should look like, what he mentally needed in order to be perfect. He gave details about the lanes, if they were oiled or dry, wood or laminate, and comments that were pertinent to his successful performance.
I explained what he should expect from hypno-therapy. I would first put him into a relaxed state of being and his mind would begin to calm from the stresses of the day. He would listen to the sound of my voice and that alone. Deep inhalations and exhalations to slow his breathing began. He learned what tension in his muscles felt like. He became aware of his own heart rate and breathing, whether he was breathing from his chest or his diaphragm. He tightened every muscle in his body so that he completely understood the complete opposite, or the feeling of physical relaxation.
We then began his personalized program. “Continue with your deep breathing. Fix your eyes of a spot across the room.” He chose to focus on a butterfly in one of my pictures on the wall. He breathed in the essence of the butterfly and breathed out all tension first from his mind, then from each part of his body. As he inhaled he chose to breathe in the freedom of the butterfly.
As we continued, the muscles of his face relaxed and I noticed him cooperating more and more with each phrase. “Now concentrate only on the freedom of the butterfly. The butterfly has the ability to fly above of all of the earthly problems you are experiencing. It doesn’t have to think about HOW to fly, it just flies easily and smoothly over all obstacles.” He gently smiled as he continued to relax more and more deeply.
I brought him back to a time in his life when he performed perfectly, when he bowled a 300 game that he remembered in detail. Leading him into a deeper state of relaxation, he was completely relaxed and immersed in a true state of hypnosis. Then each detail became more and more important as he was absorbing both in mental imagery and by memory and post hypnotic suggestion each word that I was saying.
As I got to the negative habit he had somehow acquired, I repeated the following words over and over again to strongly imprint his mind and reset his technique:
“I am completely relaxed and confident each time I step into a bowling alley. I love to bowl and I am the very best bowler in the country. Each time I take out my bowling balls I know exactly which ball is best for the lane I am going to play. It doesn’t matter if the lanes are oily or dry, I have exactly what I need to play a perfect game each time. My form is perfect, my clothing feels comfortable, my shoes feel comfortable, the crowd supports me, my mind plays this tape over and over again as soon as I walk into a bowling alley. My only option is success. I remain strong and energized during and after each game I play. I can easily play ten games and feel great.
My form is perfect. My fingers fit easily and comfortably into the holes in my bowling balls. My hand and the the ball are a perfect fit. I love the feeling of holding my bowling ball, almost as much as I love to watch it roll perfectly down the aisle to the sweet spot, the pocket. The pins always cooperate as my ball comes towards them. I see the strike before my ball reaches the pins. My arm and hand remain perfectly straight in my backswing. I swing effortlessly back and follow through as my hand passes my ear my eyes remain fixed on the pocket. I hit the pocket every time I roll the ball down the alley. As soon as I set up I focus only on the pocket and my mind sees the strike happen before the ball leaves my hand. I am mentally ready, mentally strong, nothing distracts me.
As soon as I pick up my ball, I set my feet in the same spot each time. Two boards from the first dot on the right. As I look at the pins, I focus only on the pocket, no other pins exist. As I set my ball down quietly it rolls down the aisle with a memory of where to hook. The ball has a memory imprint from my hands and it knows exactly what to do. All I have to do is lay it down in the same spot. I easily hit the same spot every time, because my hand, my arm, my shoulder and my release are perfect in delivery. My muscles lock into place, straight on the back swing and the perfect and powerful release. Over and over again, one strike after the next. As simple as walking…. I love the feeling of winning. I feel happy. I am confident. I am a winner. I bowl a perfect game easily!”
After a one hour session of repeating this paragraph over and over and over again, I had apparently programmed myself unknowingly. The next evening I was participating for fun in a Pro-Am tournament at our local bowling alley. The gentleman who I was working with was also participating. Although my average was just 150, I was the surprise of the entire tournament!
Without thinking, I picked up my 12 pound ball confidently with a new relaxed sense about the game. Even my practice balls were strikes. The teams were chosen at random. Each team had one pro bowler. Mine was smiling widely as I continued throwing one strike after the next. The tournament ended with me rolling the very best games of my career; a high game of 260! My other games that night were 190 and 210, both far beyond my regular average. It was a thrill of a lifetime! Only the pro bowler and I realized what had happened and we had a good laugh about it later. He asked that I not turn pro!
If you are interested in improving your performance in any sport, or competition of any kind, you might want to research hypno-therapy and other forms of mental retainment. It could be very worth your while! This is certainly proof that success is first a THOUGHT. If you think you will…you will. If you think you can’t…you won’t. Here’s to your next success!