I can remember being sat in school morning assembly and quite often being on the receiving end of a teacher calling out “Eason, sit still, will you?!”

Yes indeed, I often fidgeted and wriggled at times when utter stillness was the only acceptable behaviour… Oh the things kids have to endure…

I often comment on how funny I find it on my self-hypnosis seminars that everyone listens attentively in complete stillness while I am xplaining and teaching the content. Then when the time comes for people to experience hypnosis, often for the first time… They all start scratching, wriggling, sniffing and fidgeting like crazy! WHen Iwant them to be still and concentrate, they start doing the opposite…

Funny things, aren’t we?

So as you sit there reading this here, I allow you to freely scratch, fidget and feel utterly free to wriggle until your backside is content as I talk about another Olympian who needs to keep still and focused more than any other… And did so in order to get gold…

Allow me to quote this hypnosis article at the San Francisco Chronicle:

Vincent Hancock is a nervous person, who by his own admission simply cannot keep still.

 But when everything was on the line Saturday and he had to hit two final shots to win the skeet shooting Olympic gold medal, he stepped up and calmly blew the whizzing disks out of the sky.

How does a jittery 19-year-old kid from Georgia keep cool under the intense pressure of an Olympic final when everyone around him is sweating bricks?

That’s where Daniel Vitchoff steps in.

“I specialize in hypnosis,” said Vitchoff, a performance coach and sports psychologist hired to work with the U.S. shooting team. “When you are shooting in the Olympics, it comes down to who can best perform under extreme pressure. Out there, everybody is as good as the next person. It’s not a physical thing anymore. The difference between the best and the rest is the mental game.”

Shooters must control their emotions yet still maintain their intensity and concentration. It is especially hard because there is no physical outlet for all the adrenaline that is building. It is a recipe for the yips.

“There are guys who shoot perfect scores in practice and then they fall apart in the competition,” Vitchoff said. “It’s like having a phobia. It gets into their head and tears them apart. A lot of what I do is teach them to let it go.”

That’s where the hypnosis comes in. The idea, Vitchoff said, is to put the athletes into a meditative state by lowering their blood pressure and heart rate, sometimes with music. Vitchoff then uses what is essentially the power of suggestion to reinforce positive thoughts. He said he goes over the relaxation techniques repeatedly until his subjects are able to reach what he calls the “zone.”

“Look at Michael Jordon. When he played, his tongue was out, his jaw was relaxed. He was in a zone,” Vitchoff said.

Another technique is called modeling, in which he takes something the athlete is struggling with and has him or her watch video over and over of that particular thing being done successfully.

“In our business, we always say success has a structure,” Vitchoff said. “If you watch success, you can duplicate it.”

Now then, Viotchoff may be a cliché-mesiter of the highgest order, but he is spot on… And producing Gold medals! I love it when hypnosis is helping produce Gold Medals… If only Matt Emmons had the same help…

Matt Emmons is the American who missed the shots he needed to take gold in the 50m rifle for the second time, after previously failing in the same way at Athens four years ago.

Emmons’ miss has been described as ‘inexplicable’ by many. The same way that I often complain about a football penalty misses being inexplicable… I mean, if you get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds every week to kick a ball around and you spend all your professional time kicking the ball around, then how can you miss something as big as a goal from so few yards away?

Am I being unkind? You betcha!

It is in the mind… Probably why so many footballers suffer, their minds are not the best equipped… More unkindness! 🙂

The mind takes over in certain circumstances and knowing how to use it to be in control, calm and accurate, just like Vincent Hancock… And he is only 19!

Each of us responds to the thoughts we think, each thought is like sowing a seed.

Just how focused are you on what you want to achieve in life? Are you taking aim and firing your shots on target? And just how much further can I extend this metaphor? Hahaha… Well done Vincent Hancock!