Following a weekend of running my hypnotherapy training diploma, I have a very busy day on the cards… Just as well that today I have a guest blog writer.

Phil Mattingly is a good friend, an amazing hypnotherapist and has a writing style that I simply love. What’s more, last week he wrote about two of my major loves in life — football and hypnosis… So I am more than delighted that Phil is allowing me to share that with you here today. Please do visit Phil’s website and have a good read of his blog, it is exceptional. Enjoy this…

How Barcelona were hypnotised to beat Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League

By Phil Mattingly.

Have a look at this video. It’s a seven-minute piece shown to the Barcelona team by their coach Pep Guardiola right before the UEFA Cup Final.

According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, several players were moved to tears by the film, which Guardiola had specially commissioned for the night. He said nothing further to them before they went on to the field, and the team proceeded to beat Man Utd. 2-0, rather against expectations.

I’m not suprised. That film is pure hypnosis from beginning to end.

Guardiola is clearly no slouch. He knows that he has talented and capable players who logically know their jobs and their chances of winning. What he needs is to influence them emotionally to feel confident, excited and aggressive about what is to come. Notice that he chose to say nothing to them, and to show them a film with very little logical argument, or indeed, with little talking of any kind.

The hypnotic power of the film is not in what is said, but in what is shown and what is heard. The Barcelona players know the final will be played out in Rome, and so the gladitorial contests shown in the film and played out in that city’s Colosseum become an obvious hypnotic metaphor for the coming final. The film goes on to move swiftly between footage of the gladiators and footage of the Barcelona players, strengthening the association that the Spaniards are gladiators, with all the connotations of speed, power and aggression that that implies.

The film is filled with other images too. Images of success — all the footage of Barcelona scoring goal after goal after goal, and images of teamwork — the players hugging, congratulating and bonding with one another. These montages send a strong hypnotic message; the players literally see themselves as confident, co-ordinated and successful. And of course, the video ends with all the visual suggestions of a Barcelona victory, ending in fireworks and the cup uplifted.

On top of that of course, there’s plenty of hypnotic music. The stirring martial soundtrack to Gladiator is set against the slower and more melancholic pieces. The contrast heightens the players’ emotional response to each part, reinforcing aggression on the one hand and precision and unity on the other. Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’ provides a suitably stirring march to the climax and images of victory.

No surprise then that the players reacted emotionally to such a deliberately hypnotic and influential piece, and no surprise that, like so many other top class athletes, that hypnotic influence contributed an edge that helped them to walk away as champions.