Winning the Mind Game

Using hypnosis in sport psychology

By: Tim Rowan , John H Edgette


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 156mm
Pages : 176
ISBN : 9781904424024
Format: Paperback
Published: January 2003

Hypnosis is an invaluable tool to quickly and effectively influence the subconscious mind and promote lasting change. This book contains a wide range of advanced hypnotic interventions that allow therapeutic techniques to be adopted and used with athletes. This practical book also contains scripts and case studies.

Topics include:

  • Transcripts of successful clinical sports hypnosis interventions
  • A step-by-step guide
  • Theoretical considerations
  • Working with teams
  • Tips on marketing your sports psychology practice.

Picture for author Tim Rowan

Tim Rowan

Tim Rowan, MSW, maintains a clinical practice and holds the position of Division Chair of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Professor of Human Services at Allegany College of Maryland. In addition to his therapeutic and academic work, Tim has been a soccer coach and a softball coach and has been selected Soccer Coach of the Year seven times.

Picture for author John H Edgette

John H Edgette

John H. Edgette, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a Co-Director of the Milton H. Erickson Institute of Philadelphia and is co-author of the bestselling The Handbook of Hypnotic Phenomena in Psychotherapy. John also travels internationally giving highly acclaimed seminars on sport psychology to both therapists and athletes.


  1. In my observation, many of the popular books on hypnosis lean more toward teaching guided imagery con-cepts, relaxation and stress manage-ment, or positive affirmation techniques than on teaching the retrieval of resources via hypnosis. I am happy to report that Winning the Mind Game is not one of them; it is an excellent discussion of the use of Ericksonian approaches to change when working with athletes.

    The authors displayed a broad familiarity with at least three special-ty areas-the world of sports, a knowledge base in clinical psycholo-gy, and training in Erickson's therapy and hypnosis. Edgette and Rowan's book is full of suggestions on how to manage problems specific to working with athletes. The reader acquires a tremendous appreciation for how much further sports psychology can go than merely coaching a player to correctly visualize and “stay loose,” which is common in the field. Paradoxically, getting relaxed is the last thing that many athletes want. In response, the authors illustrate how “alert trance” can direct and refine a person's attention and performance without loss of drive or performance edge.

    The authors reportedly work with people of any level of ability, based on their observation that anyone's sports performance can be enhanced with the techniques they present. There is often an overlap of the ath-letes' personal issues with their sports performance issues, and a sports psy-chologist is commonly called upon to address both. Therefore, many of the approaches presented are applicable in areas beyond sports performance.

    I liked this book for its pragmatic style that explained, step-by-step, how to implement their approaches. This book was not merely a theoreti-cal piece that promised to teach but never got around to ir, it delivered Just what it said it would. I like that in a book. As I read the book, I actually practiced some of the techniques as I went along. The authors suggest that readers not rely solely on their book for a comprehensive understanding of the field, but suggest that the serious student of sports psychology read other books to amplify their under-standing. The authors are not trying to be all things to all therapists.

    The authors include an in-depth description of how to conduct an assessment of psychological needs for athlete clients, working with both individuals and teams. One section debunks myths about the field, and even includes tips for marketing a clinical sports psychology practice.

    The chapters offer a nice balance between specific techniques and case examples, and broad guidelines for how to incorporate the ideas with diverse client presentations. It was not formulaic and stilted, but embraced the Ericksonian philosophy that each client's idiosyncrasies can be utilized and woven into the solu-tion in a co-creative manner.

    The book is written in a user-friendly, gender-neutral, and entertaining voice, and I enjoyed every aspect of reading it. Readers will be left with a strong respect for the authors' breadth of knowledge in the field, their level of creativity in applying Ericksonian techniques with this population, and their own level of excellent clinical skills.

    What will not be gleaned from this book is a lot of hypnosis scripts. Rather, it is a tutorial on how to create appropriate hypnotic interventions that utilize and recognize the unique circumstances and resources of each client-Erickson would be proud.

  2. This is a very important book for the field of applied sports psychology and a must for any practitioner wanting to work effectively with athletes. Most sports psychology texts merely scratch the surface with their typical presentation of mental rehearsal, relaxation, concentration and other basic performance enhancement techniques. Dr. Edgette and Rowan's work starts where all these other books leave off. They provide the clinician with some very powerful intervention tools and strategies for both problem solving and performance enhancement. If you're serious about developing an effective sport psychology practice, then (book title) and it's techniques need to be a part of your clinical armamentarium.
  3. John Edgette and Tim Rowan present a fresh and focused perspective on the world of sports psychology. Utilising the common goal of athletes to improve performance, “Winning the Mind Game” introduces a new model for optimising peak performance that breaks the mould of current therapeutic interventions. I would highly recommend this enjoyable and comprehensive book to hypnosis-trained therapists/coaches as an invaluable resource and introduction to the exciting world if sports psychology. It is a win-win for everyone!
  4. Edgette and Rowan provide a solid introduction to the emerging field of sport hypnosis with emphasis on advanced athletes. In part 1, the authors provide an overview of clinical sport psychology, detailing individual cases of athletic problems from youth sport through the professional level. One chapter explains specifically how sport hypnosis can provide solutions for many problems inadequately handled by traditional sport psychology, such as mental blocking or focusing, and how one can prepare oneself for a career in using hypnosis in sport. Parts 2 and 3 cover application of sport hypnosis to individual cases, with subjects ranging from assessment of athletes to the use of hypnotic techniques that might be beneficial. Chapter 9 offers a case scenario of how these techniques can be used to solve the plight of a golfer with a motor pattern dilemma; chapter 10 describes the use of hypnosis in a team setting. The authors devote the last section to the development of a business practice in sport hypnosis, providing strategies in marketing oneself and developing a clientele. Summing Up: Optional. All levels.
  5. All therapists who currently use Ericksonian methods and brief therapy and would like to branch out into Sports Psychology would benefit from reading this book. The authors believe that traditional methods of helping sports people are too long-winded and could be much improved by using tried and tested Ericksonian techniques, tailored, of course, to the specific client. Although an interest and a knowledge of most sports is desirable, it is not absolutely necessary to know about specific sports in any great depth in order to help a sports person to enhance performance or to remove stumbling blocks which may be preventing them from giving their best.

    As well as several case studies, which set out the methods the authors use, also provided are ways in which brief therapeutic methods can be utilised for this purpose.

    There is also a useful chapter on marketing your Sport Psychology practice.
  6. The importance of sport psychology in training became apparent to me decades ago, before it was developed into an applied science, and before there were specific words to the different concepts. I have been incorporating it into my work since, and encourage the same of anybody working with athletes to enhance performance. Winning the Mind Game is a terrific tool for helping them do exactly that.
  7. There is a growing level of interest amongst athletes in the use of Hypnosis for performance enhancement. Having a performance coach is now an everyday experience for tennis players, golfers and athletes. In a world where success and failure (and millions of pounds) can be measured in slivers of a second, or millimetres of accuracy, anything that can bring an edge - legally - is worth investigating.

    This book delivers a step-by-step guide for those interested in working with sports people. Their approach is based on a four step model which allows those new to this field to be clear about what to achieve and how to achieve it. They support this framework with clear case studies, transcripts of particular interventions, and interesting anecdotes.

    I found their in-depth exploration of the use of particular trance phenomena in focusing the client on positive outcomes to be especially good. The authors are very much at the -˜new hypnosis' end of the profession, not attributing the efficacy of a technique to the trance depth of the client, so the chapter on Alert Hypnosis explains the uses of, and how to achieve, an eyes-open trance state, as well as talking and walking while in hypnosis.

    While the book is aimed at sports psychology it has relevance to any field where performance is an issue, and as such is a welcome addition to my bookshelf.
  8. This book is directed towards the ones that coach athletes with the aim to improve performance, and deals with how one in a systematic way can use hypnosis for this purpose. The authors claim that the method they describe can be very successful but that there is a multitude of other ways that works at least as good. This humble attitude is kept throughout the book and contributes to a very pleasant reading atmosphere. The reader gets many interesting perspectives on sport psychology and many case stories can provide a source of inspiration for the coach or psychologist. A strength and weakness with this book is that it is very clear and detailed, sometimes too clear and detailed and even extracted, which perhaps makes the book more suitable for beginners in sports psychology.

    Mark: 4 (i.e. Very much worth reading).
  9. This book is aimed at experienced hypnotherapists wishing to develop their practice into sports psychology. It assumes a fairly advanced level of knowledge about hypnosis and its application and illustrates how the key techniques can be used in sports coaching. It does this clearly and economically. Indeed, I would have liked more illustration of the techniques in use. The most valuable section, to my mind, is that on alert (awake) hypnosis which will have application in business and life coaching as well as sport. Recommended for those moving into sports coaching.
  10. There is no doubt about the fact that during the past decade, Hypnotherapy has certainly gained momentum and acceptance and has earned its place in the health care of many people. Techniques are used in a wide variety of problems many of them emotional and medical, but not exclusively so.

    Hypnosis is a valuable tool that can be used quickly and effectively to create influencing strategies in the subconscious mind to create lasting change within the patient. This can be to reduce anxiety or fight phobias. More and more it is also found to be an invaluable tool in the preparation of sportsmen. It can promote lasting changes within the athletes.

    This exciting book contains a wide range of interventions that can be used by the therapist with sportsmen as individuals or as teams to enhance performance, etc.

    It includes:

    a clear step-by-step guide for working with sportsmen

    a guide to using hypnosis with groups and teams

    Transcripts of proven successful interventions

    detailed case studies

    details on how to promote this side of your business.

    It is a book ideal for anyone who works with sportsmen and teams either professionally or as a hobby. It also is an excellent guide to anyone who is already in the business of hypnotherapy to expand business into what is more commonly called these days, sports psychology.

    This book leaves no stones unturned, no questions unanswered. It has been carefully written by its coauthors and is an immensely readable piece of literature. So much sport, in fact so much of Iife, is almost entirely dependent upon the way that we think so this book is that guide we have been looking for to help people “win the mind game”.

    The book is easy-to-use and comprehensive and gives excellent step-by-step guidance for its development. I can think of a few football and cricket teams which could do with help at the moment. How about your local? Well ... it may be worth considering!

    Highly recommended! and I am only an armchair sportsman but I can see great potential for its use here.

  11. As a coach and counselor/therapist for over 20 years, I have used many of John's ideas for performance excellence, and have found them to work exceptionally well. This book truly synthesizes those ideas into an easy-to-use, comprehensive framework for all performers. My athletes, and clients, have responded powerfully to these techniques, and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to 'win the mind game'.
  12. The active alert trance states that Edgette describes in this book are, in my view, essential to enhanced performance in competitive golf. As a psychologist and competitive golfer I have experienced first hand the dramatic improvements possible when an active alert trance state is induced and maintained.
  13. Winning the Mind Game is a step-by-step guide for professionals who have a basic familiarity with hypnotherapy and want to expand their practice by working with athletes on performance enhancement. Edgette and Rowan offer a clearly written, welcome addition to the literature that provides information about building a sports performance practice from both the administrative and clinical perspectives. Highly recommended!
  14. It is surprising that, despite its popularity, there is still a paucity of literature dealing specifically with the use of clinical hypnosis for the enhancement of sport performance. It is therefore gratifying to see that a book has now been published that admirably helps fill this gaping void. The authors, John Edgette and Tim Rowan, are admirably qualified to produce such a work as they are themselves sport psychologists and clinicians, both with a background in Ericksonian clinical hypnosis. Though -˜Winning the Mind Game' is the first book to be published that focuses purely on an Ericksonian approach to sporting enhancement, the authors recognize that direct authoritarian approaches are of value too and recommend Donald Liggett's book Sport Hypnosis (Human Kinetics, 2000) as “required reading for anyone interested in the subject”. From their own observations that many sport psychologists already use forms of hypnosis (albeit without realizing it) through the use of relaxation and visualisation techniques the authors set about writing a book that details more sophisticated approaches to using the trance state. At the same time they highlight their own particular approach that is designed to help the entire spectrum of age and athletic ability, incorporating assessment and intervention techniques that can be applied by qualified therapists at all levels of experience in both individual and team settings.

    The authors begin by defining sport psychology and include examples that show how it has helped many famous sporting personalities to enhance their own performance. A review of the myths and misrepresentations that can surround the field follows, examining and rectifying incorrect assumptions made by the general public and therapeutic community alike. Edgette and Rowan then precis the application of clinical hypnosis, highlighting hypnosis as a means of enhancing the efficacy of the sport psychology model as well as a means of allowing practitioners to move away from the sometimes protracted and often turgid methods found within it.

    Guiding the reader through a step-by-step implementation, the authors present an all encompassing model that covers four basic elements: psychological attitude; cognitive and psychological skills; the use of hypnosis; and accessing lost resources. Throughout they eschew a philosophy of flexibility with regard to treatment, emphasizing the importance of assessing each problem and individual on a case-by-case basis. The therapists' attitude is also discussed and, for those new to the field, important advice is given with regard to breaking down one's own misconceptions when working with athletes and sport psychology in general.

    The majority of the book is devoted to clinical intervention, beginning with an overview of the psychological assessment process centred around a solution focused approach that incorporates strategic questioning. The authors break this assessment down into four sections (goal orientated; solution focused; resource retrieval; and contextual support questions), taking the reader through the information gathering process that subsequently allows the therapist to clearly assess the needs and outcomes sought by the athlete. Integration of the assessment with a proposed intervention is demonstrated through an annotated case transcript that follows the questioning process through to the conclusion of the hypnosis session. An interesting chapter follows with the authors discussing the induction of hypnosis as relevant to sport psychology, recommending utilization approaches that incorporate sporting terminologies and reminders of prior sporting experience.

    It is well known that many athletes report entering what is often referred to as -˜the zone', a trance-like state typically experienced when performing at one's optimum. The authors rightly recognize this as a state of alert hypnosis that can be controlled and utilized by the athlete to further enhance their performance. From this premise a strategy that allows the athlete to become adept at entering into this alert hypnotic state whilst performing is included.

    Of the more formal hypnotic approaches that are discussed, those that utilize hypnotic phenomena to the advantage of the athlete are covered in detail. These include memory function, time distortion, ideo motor functioning, age regression, pseudo orientation in time, and dissociation, to name but a few. Each phenomenon's possible application to sporting enhancement is covered showing how it can aid the rapid development of the appropriate cognitive and behavioural skills required for improvement. This cognitive and behavioural theme is further explored with the authors providing approaches specifically designed to modify any negative or neutral mindset with which an athlete views their current performance. Further to this, strategies are also given that can modify and eradicate those behaviours that maintain the unwanted performance. The authors are at pains to point out that, although these cognitive and behavioural strategies are presented as separate subjects for the purpose of clarity, they are interlinked as cognitive changes influence behaviour and vice versa. Maintenance of these changes also falls under discussion with solution focused approaches once again being used, this time to ensure the continuance of positive psychological and behavioural modifications through feedback in trance.

    Those hoping to find pages of scripts dealing with the various aspects of sporting enhancement will be disappointed. However, this lack of scripts is by no means detrimental. On the contrary, one of the book's many strengths is that it encourages therapists to utilize their own knowledge and experience when following the model as laid down by the authors. Though focused specifically on sport psychology, the concepts found within the book's pages can be applied to a far wider therapeutic range. It must be said that -˜Winning the Mind Game' is a superb book crammed with useful information and ideas, providing a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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