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Boat Race Winners Used A Form Of Hypnotherapy

Oxford, winners of this year's annual Boat Race, used a "visualisation" technique to get them match-fit.

The 157th Xchanging Boat Race saw the largest number of British students take part in 10 years and the highest number of first-year undergraduates since 2003. The team's relative inexperience warranted a unique approach from Oxford's president, Ben Myers, who created a bespoke hypnotherapy course to encourage his team to victory.

The level of experience in such events as these can make a huge difference to a team's performance on the day, as ex-Olympian and multiple gold-medal winner Sir Matt Pinsent was keen to point out, suggesting that events such as these have huge learning curves and require a certain mindset to achieve success.

The Oxford team had no worries, though. They beat Cambridge comprehensively after taking a three length lead at the middle bend that they never lost.

Cambridge coach Steve Trapmore told evri.com, "It's easy to lose focus in an event like this when there's a lot going on and there's huge noise from the crowd. It's also very easy when you race side-by-side to get too focused on the other crew. That can distract from your rowing."

It is thought that the success of Ben Myers' "visualisation" techniques could see them adopted more frequently by the Oxford team. The hypnotherapy-like treatment involved easing anxiety and promoting a sense of self-belief and determination.

Speaking to The Independent of his "visualisation" sessions, Myers said, "Most people's experience of this sort of thing would be hypnotherapy to stop smoking. We picture what it might feel like sitting at the start, or how the crew will respond to different race scenarios, different weather conditions.

"It can create levels of confidence and reinforce your belief."