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The hypnosis and school basketball story

Posted Feb 10 2009 12:47pm

My colleagues and friends, Adam Eason and Phil Mattingley have been talking about this story in their blogs and now this local news channel in Kansas has picked up the story. 

It’s the story of a high school basketball team that enlisted the skills of a local hypnotherapist to help them to improve their performance. Coach Clint Kinnamon thought hypnotherapy would boost his team’s confidence and he found a local licensed therapist who was willing to help.

Now he says: “Had I known this would have turned into what it did, I would have rethought doing it.”

According to Coach Kinnamon, the players had three sessions, focusing on relaxing and picturing themselves in a game. In the TV interview he says:

“There’s the perfect release of the basketball as it leaves your fingertips. It’s the perfect shot. It’s a shot you’ve made a million times in your driveway or in your practice. You hear it swish it lands
on the floor.”

But less than a week after the first session, the school board voted to stop the use of hypnosis.

“The district believes that’s not the kind of practice we want to encourage or endorse. Not that there is anything harmful about the practice, it’s just not something we want done with our kids,” Superintendent Dr. James Kenworthy said. Excuse me whilst I quietly seethe to myself…

Parent Darrell Bauer allowed his son Jordon to participate in a new coaching technique: “I don’t know how it works, but he says he can feel a difference, says he loves it,” Bauer said. He feels that hypnotherapy
not only helped his son with sports, but in the classroom too, saying:

“He said he can feel himself more focused and absorbing and containing more and remembering more.” 

Bauer also says:

People hear the word hypnosis, all these things go through their head about a basketball team running around in a daze and that’s not what it’s about.”

What a great shame all this is.

A team starts to use the very best techniques - techniques used by top sports people around the world - to improve their game and they get knocked back by people who, quite frankly, just don’t know what they
are talking about and yet presume to be able to make these kinds of judgements. It is like me claiming that I know all about ‘travelling’ and ‘three-pointers.’ 8-)

Both Adam and Phil have written great articles about the cliches and ill-informed ideas involved in media coverage of this story. What I find saddest of all is that at least one student has clearly benefited
enormously from his brief brush with hypnosis - and it has had a profound effect on his learning in school.

Personally, I would like to see self-hypnosis taught to all young people in the UK. I work with many young people in my practice who find hypnosis and self-hypnosis enormously helpful to their confidence,
self-awareness, focus and concentration. It helps them to study more effectively, pass exams, learn new skills and enjoy life. (I also work with many sports people on peak performance. Guess what? They win
things!)

I only wish that, as a rather anxious teenager myself, I had discovered the wonderful skills of self-hypnosis earlier in my life; and I am so grateful that now I can help others to benefit from them too.

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