By Dawson Church, PhD
Every athlete strives to break his or her previous best record. Athletes measure their times and numbers, then work hard on the aspects of their performance that impair their ability to do better. Each sport has one or more measures; free throws in basketball, goal kicks in soccer, and points in gymnastics.
EFT can be used by athletes to improve those metrics, and there are many accounts of athletes quickly seeing huge improvements in performance after applying EFT.
However, when trying to break a physical barrier, it’s important to avoid injury.
If ligaments and tendons are stretched beyond their limits, they tear, as countless limping athletes can tell you. Trying to exceed their limits, they tear rotator cuffs in their shoulders. They blow out the meniscus cartilages in their knees. They come down with tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome.
If an athlete is getting good results with EFT, it’s tempting to push harder and harder, and take risks at the limit of the envelope of performance. That’s why I believe it’s important to add a “safety catch” to your setup statement, especially if you’re doing rapid or strenuous exercise that gives you scant time to pull back if you reach beyond the limits of safety.
Image 1: An Athletic Ballet Kick Called a Battement
Here’s an example of using both a setup statement that stretches you toward a goal, and a safety catch that stops you from getting injured: I recently visited a friend’s home, and talked to her eighteen-year-old son. He’s an avid dancer, and dances competitively in swing, tango, waltz, and ballet.
He was complaining about his performance limitations in certain ballet moves, so I suggested we try EFT. The two particular ones that were giving him trouble were called a battement and a grande battement. They both involve kicks straight out front, but with different hip positions, resulting in a higher kick for the grande battement. Think of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall doing their high kicks, and you’ll get the picture.
Image 2: A Chorus Line Performing Grande Battements
I measured his performance on both kicks using marks on the edge of a wall. I had him perform three of his best kicks for both moves, standing with the big toe of his other leg in the same, marked, spot. He was remarkably consistent, within about ¼ inch range over all three kicks. I took careful measurements from the floor, to within ¼ inch of his average.
Then we did EFT. His particular challenge is that, while his muscles are strong and his ligaments are very flexible, the muscles of his upper thigh (quadriceps and adductors) contract involuntarily when he performs a kick, limiting the range of travel of his leg.
So our EFT setup statement was, "The muscles of my upper thigh remain relaxed when I kick.” But then we added the “safety catch,” which was “My whole body is supple and flexible. I dance effortlessly and safely.” We did a single round of tapping for the goal, and a single round for the safety catch.
He then performed three battements, and three grande battement kicks.
Here are the results:
Battement Before EFT: 45 ¾ inches
Battement After EFT: 56 ½ inches
Improvement: 10 ¾ inches
Grande Battement Before EFT: 58 ¼ inches
Grande Battement After EFT: 61 ¼ inches
Improvement: 3 inches
Image 3: Battement Kick Height Limit
In the image above, the height I measured is the top of the right foot. This young athlete was quite amazed at the improvement, since he’s been working on improving these moves for several months, and his initial kick height was the best he had been able to accomplish. Yet with EFT, he was immediately able to get large gains, and with the safety catch, not risk a torn ligament in a very fast and strenuous move.
If I were working with an athlete intensively, I would look at the different muscle groups involved in the two kicks to determine why he got more improvement in the one kick than the other, and then develop more targeted setup statements for those particular muscles.
This whole process with this young man took about 15 minutes, and I did not develop the protocol for him further, since after watching him change, some other family members now wanted treatment with EFT!