As the world of professional sport continues to progress, science begins to take more of an influence in the way that athletes prepare, perform and recover from sporting exertion.
Nutrition plays a significant part, ensuring that athletes perform and recover to the best of their ability, whilst performances can now be analysed using a mixture of science and technology.
However, Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders have this season been utilising a science that goes beyond physical realms; the science of the human mind – all thanks to Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Neuro-Lingusitic Programmer, Ken Hancott.
Ken, of Leicester-based Red to Green Therapy, has been working with this season’s successful Riders team to help ensure that players aren’t held back by the restrictions they impose on themselves mentally, as he explains in an exclusive interview with Soar Magazine.
Ken 01 Ken Hancott Breaking Down Mental Barriers“My area of expertise deals with subconscious thoughts, for people that suffer in some part with a disorder, such as bad habits and phobias,” says Ken.
“In terms of what I do to get people thinking differently about how they behave, a lot of it has something to do with performance, and allows me to help enhance sports performance in many different ways.”
Ken commenced working with Leicester Riders following a conversation he had with the team’s general manager Russell Levenston and has since used a number of techniques with which to help to improve the way that the team have been playing.
“Like all teams, perhaps more so with regard to basketball teams at this level in the UK, teams have to rebuild every year, therefore many of the players won’t have played together before as a team. That’s a hard thing for players to do, and as human beings we have naturally defensive personalities.
“That can inhibit your progress in bonding as part of a team and doing what you do best. As a performer, you need to lay yourself bare – and that’s what the Riders players have been trying to do. I’ve been trying to ensure that they let go of their inhibitions.
“That has been done in many different ways. With some players, it’s about visualisation – such as visualising your goal, in this case the basket – and with other players, it’s been about peripheries and what they see with their peripheral vision, allowing the game to be played quicker and more effectively.”
To the uninitiated, it could be argued that Ken’s work has had a profound effect on the Riders this season. The team are preparing themselves for a semi-final clash in the British Basketball League Play-Offs, whilst they have also broken records in what will go down as a historic season for the organisation.
However, Ken openly admits that it would be a hard task to put the Riders’ impressive form solely down to his work.
“I said from the outset that I wouldn’t be able to make these guys play like the Harlem Globetrotters, because that kind of brain control doesn’t Ken 02 Ken Hancott Breaking Down Mental Barrierswork. What I can do is help the players have a belief, or that extra bit of energy, that they need to make the difference in being winners or losers – and in basketball, the margin of winning a game can be fine.”
One Leicester Riders player that has experienced the benefits of Ken’s work this season is guard Cameron Rundles. Cameron is in his first season as a professional and is playing in the UK after moving across from Minnesota.
“I personally think that I have benefitted the most,” reveals Rundles.
“I think he’s great and he has helped me from the first day that he came in. He’s an optimistic guy and whatever his job title may be, the glass is always half full. That optimism has rubbed off on us and we have shared that.
“Since Ken started working with us, we have been smiling, we have been happy and it’s brought us confidence. When we make a good play, we get excited and it’s important to be excited. That helps the team and feeds off onto the crowd.”
Following a season working with basketball, Ken is now keen to utilise his expertise with others, including – he hopes – some of Leicestershire’s other sports teams.
“I’d love to work with other teams,” Ken states.
“I wasn’t a basketball fan before, but I really am now; I think it’s an amazing game. I’ve enjoyed working with the Riders and I hope that a little bit of my positivity and the techniques have benefitted them. I feel as though it is and it’s great to see.”