Athletes and coaches are extremely superstitious and will do almost any odd, quirky or just plain bizarre ritual if it leads to success on the field of play.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have pushed that envelope to a whole new level by putting their quarterbacks under hypnosis to get them to relax, with the goal being to push negative thoughts out and bring in positive ones.
This tactic was picked up from Florida after current OSU associate athletic director Rob Glass saw it work well there and wanted to give it a try at Oklahoma State.
The quarterback position is so stressful that the coaches wanted to have a way to get their players to relax. Quarterback Brandon Weeden participated in hypnotherapy during his two years as the Oklahoma State signal-caller, and during those two years, he led OSU to a 26-3 record which included the school's first Big 12 title and BCS bowl win.
The Cowboys brought in hypnotherapist Paige Wacker to help with the quarterbacks, and Weeden felt that it actually helped his game (via The Oklahoman):
Playing quarterback, in particular, is a lot of pressure, a lot of stress...For me, it was more she relaxed me. [Wacker] got the mental state of my game [right] as far visioning good things happening all the time, taking the bad thoughts out, whether it was throwing an interception or whatever it may be. I think it's just taking all the good thoughts and building on those.
A lot of coaches follow the tactic of having players visualize themselves being successful through relaxation techniques, but this is taking it to a whole new level.
In the same Oklahoman report, Wacker described her technique simply as getting players to relax:
Visualization is something coaches have used forever. I just give them visualization on steroids, because I teach an athlete how to quiet his mind. A quiet mind is a focused mind, and a focused mind is a focused athlete.
One can not say for certain that having Weeden being hypnotized actually did help his play while at Oklahoma State, but going by his success there, it can be agreed upon that it did not hurt his play on the field.
It could just be a mental thing—that believing that being taken under to relax will allow the pressures of the quarterback position to be melted away.
Be assured, since this technique is working at Oklahoma State, that other teams will start taking up the practice of getting players to undergo hypnosis and, as Wacker says, "push the negative thoughts out and positive ones to the forefront.”
Do not expect every team to do this, but there will be others which want to get the most out of their players and give this outside-the-box technique a try to see if it really does help.