Those who were glued to the television for the Beijing Olympics might be interested to know that the Olympic Gold pole vaulting medallist, Australian Steve Hooker, had his fear of pole vaulting cured with hypnosis just a few years ago. Hooker soared to his Olympic Gold in dramatic style earning him an Olympic title and an Olympic record 5.96 metres on his final try. He is also the first Olympic champion from Australia in pole vaulting. Hooker said:
“The whole competition was mentally and physically the hardest thing I have done in my life. It was more boxing than pole vault. I should have skipped the second jumps altogether. They were not working for me. I should have gone straight to the third.”
Hooker explained that dreams of Olympic competition were impossible for him in recent years as he was close to quitting in 2001. Only a few years ago he was unable to cope with the mental demands of the tough discipline and had even been throwing tantrums in training. He added:
“I would run through a lot and not take off and it got to the point, by the end of it I thought about giving it in. It was so mentally draining going to training not knowing if I would be able to jump or not. I was throwing poles, cracking tantrums, I was in a miserable bad mood. Your whole life, it really brings it down when it’s really what you want to do and you can’t do it just because it’s not clicking in your brain.”
Hypnotherapy, combined with visualisation techniques, got him back on track. He told The Australian newspaper:
“I would talk to her at the start of the session and say, ‘I want to talk about lowering the pole vault in my last couple of steps and jumping off the ground.’ I would tell her the cues I wanted to work on, so she’d work it into the things that she was saying while I was under hypnosis.”
The results came gradually for Hooker but, when they came, the results were outstanding and well worth waiting for, Hypnosis ensured that Hooker now has no trouble with the mental aspects of his sport.