“Athletes will psych themselves up…hoping their ‘A’ game shows up mentally,” says Dr. Dan Vitchoff, a mental training and performance coach and president of the Pennsylvania Hypnosis Center. “Whether or not they function mentally is usually a crapshoot.”
According to Vitchoff, what you do 24 hours a day, not just during sport-related activity, affects your performance when the game clock starts running. This idea forms the basis of his 33 Method, a kind of mental training that involves hypnosis, visualization and neuro-linguistic programming [NLP], which helps athletes perform at their peaks.
Vitchoff customizes the 33 Method to suit each athlete he works with—a list that includes several members of the Super Bowl Champ Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as American Olympians Vincent Hancock and Glenn Eller, who gold medaled at the 2008 Beijing Games in the men’s skeet and double trap events, respectively.
To use the 33 Method to improve your game, start by splitting your day into three parts: eight hours of doing what you have to do [school and training], eight hours of personal life and eight hours of rest. One exercise Vitchoff recommends is writing in a journal first thing every morning to help you start your day optimistically and avoid negative distractions.
Be positive with your writing, Vitchoff advises. Avoid using “don’t,” because your mind doesn’t take suggestions that way. Some examples of positive writing: “I’m going to focus on the highest level; I’m going to keep myself free of distractions; and I’m going to remain focused on what’s important to me.”
“Those types of statements, in those words, get an individual moving in a direction toward what they want, as opposed to what they don’t want,” he says. “Before you get sidetracked with negativity, start programming your mind to function at its highest level.”
Visit 33method.com to learn more about Dr. Vitchoff and his mental training program.