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It is often said that the art/science of NLP could have been designed for use in sport!

What makes the difference between coming in first, second, fifth?  Is it talent? Is it technique? Is it physical ability? Is it mind-set?

Of course it is all of these things, but without the correct mindset the rest of them wouldn’t really matter. Mindset is a determining factor for success and the thing that closes the gap the closer a sports person gets to the winning spot.

Think about the differences between first and second. In the 2016 100m Olympics final there were just 8 tenths of a second between Usain Bolt’s world record first place and Justin Catlin in second. That’s less time than it took you to read this sentence!

Mindset makes an immense difference when competing at a level where such narrow times are involved, How about focus on the racetrack or when taking a swing in golf? How about the determination needed to complete a triathlon?

All of these things are to do with mind-set and mental attitude, and that’s where NLP comes in.

The reason why NLP in sport can be used so effectively is that it gives us tools to understand the mental processes that the sportsperson goes through in each element of their sport, identify any problems and then change the processes to give a better result for the client. The difference that can be made in achievements are awesome.

NLP is the coaching tool of choice now for professional sports people because it is a fast way of making large improvements to performance.

An example of how the application of NLP in sport can make such a big difference to performance.

Let’s take the example of golf. There are driving shots, putting shots, medium distance shots, and long distance shots, each of those will have a series of strategies running behind them. Now a strategy is a sequence of ‘things’ that you do in your head. For example you might see a picture, then get a feeling, then say something to yourself and then hit the ball. On average a golfer will have something between 5 and 7 strategies running before every type of shot.

So if we elicit all the strategies for every component of their game we will end up with about 50 strategies.

Now we have a set of strategies that the golfer employs across their game and it makes it fairly simple to identify if something stands out as being a bit different. A pro golfer will be looking for consistency, after all they are looking for every shot to be perfect after all.

However, if they are having a problem in a particular area of their game, say their short game, what is normally the case is that the sequence of strategies that they are running for their short game is different from all the other elements of their game that are working well.

Hence we look for the anomaly, the strategy that is different, and utilising a strategy installation technique, we change that strategy resulting in an instant improvement to that element.

In addition to this, we can work with our golfer’s beliefs and values since both of these run the behaviour or physiology of the client and we can align that part of their thinking to the results that they want.

So NLP is a GREAT tool when applied to the context of sport giving immediate improvement to the performance of sports people.

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