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REFERENCE: ERIC W. KRENZ, Improving competitive performance with hypnotic suggestions and modified autogenic training:case reports. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL HYPNOSIS, VOLUME 27, NUMBER 1, JULY 1984.

Undoubtedly athletes need to train to kept themselves physiological in shape for competitive performance.  Research, as well as you own experience, points to the fact that stress and high levels of anxiety can prevent an athlete from reaching peak performance in competition.  The mind-body relationship has more recently become and important consideration in the training of athletes to enable them to perform at their physiological best.  This training may be called a special kind of "mental training" for competitive performing.  The techniques are usually some form of "posthypnotic suggestions," "sensory conditioning," and "mental imagery and rehersal."

This article suggests a modified form of Standard Autogenic Training, synthesizing "the strengths of hypnotic techniques." The claim is made that athletes trained in these special ways in addition to their regularly athletic training program, "can manage unexpected incidences during competition" better than those athletes that do not have this added special "mental training."

Krenz has developed what he calls a Modified Autogenic Training, program for athletes.

Probably, helpful to anyone who has to perform in a way that is being judged or evaluated by others, or under stressful circumstances, like musicians, speakers, actors, teachers.

The Modified Autogenic Training program has the advantage of being less complicated than the Standard program and it takes less time to complete the program (approximately seven weeks). The Standard Autogenic Training usually requires three months or longer and/or can be very complicated. 

Features of the Modified Authogenic Training Program:

I uses the six SAT exercises:

1 - heaviness of limbs

2 - warmth of limbs

3 - heartbeat

4 - respiration

5 - warmth of solar plexus

6 - coolness of forehead

II the number of repetitions of each suggestion needed to produce the desired effect is decreased each week over the seven weeks

III the idea is to relax the body but keep the mind alert so that special instructions can be given

IV the technique can be practiced alone and does always need a trainer or audio tapes

V designed to teach the athlete to control natural psychological and physiological reactions to stressful and to learn mental discipline, problem solving and self-coaching through a unique combination of SAT exercises, deep relaxation, control of breathing, autosuggestion and dissociation.

VI Over a period of seven weeks the instructor guides the athlete(s) through the exercises, explaining with repetitive phrases how to breathe and how to relax; the first two sessions are taught in a stress-free environment (a quite, comfortable room with subdued lighting where the athlete(s) are all seated in reclining chairs aht provide lumbar and leg support).

VII subsequent sessions taught in the athlete's (athletes') practice environments.

VIII once learned MAT can be practised anywhere

IX during periods when the body is deeply relaxed and the mind still alert, posthypnotic suggestions can then be repeated, usually called "special formulas" tailored to the group or to the individual.  These usually begin in the third week of the MAT program. 

X the "special formulas" should be short, positive and focus on various psychological techniques to improve performance and prepare athletes for competition

XI mental rehearsal us sued to help athletes focus their attention on what they will have to do by pcituring themselves doing it perfectly.

XII athletes are taught to dissociate by imagining mentally "split screen" showing in one part another athlete performing at his/her best, and in the other part of the screen themselves doing the same.  This enables them in a non-threatening,

non-judgemental way to compare the model performance with their own and see where adjustments could be made that might make a difference in their own performance.

XIII Next, using the "split screen" idea, the athlete is encouraged to mentally "step inside" the model athlete's body while doing his/her thing perfectly, repeating the performance 4 or 5 times this way, sensing the feelings and the movements as the model athlete performs. 

XIV next the student "steps out" of the model's body and allows the model to "step inside" the students to rehearse performing, being reminded by the instructor to stay aware of his feelings and any other sensory details of the experience.

XV finally the model "steps out" of the student's body and watches the student perform alone, giving suggestion onw hat the student can do to improve performance