Who said meditation is just for the yogis? Athletes can also benefit from meditation. Boosting your mindfulness and focus prove to be a great advantage for athletes.
Studies have shown that athletes who incorporated a sports-specific meditation program in their training regimen had better performance. It is thought that mindfulness trains the brain to respond positively to physical challenges, especially during crucial, high-stress situations. Meditation does not only help during the actual game. It can also help hasten the body’s recovery process.
Recognizing the importance of meditation in sports, sporting teams, clubs and Olympic teams have now been integrating sports-specific mindfulness sessions into their training regimens. Apart from physical training, mental training is seen as a crucial part of a champion athlete.
Sadly, many athletes fail to realize that winning a game is NOT all about their equipment or training. It’s actually the holistic preparation that can win them the gold. For instance, a tennis player should not just rely on a good tennis racquet like the ones you find at https://peakstriker.com. It needs the right combination of physical and mental plus right equipment to do great in any sport.
How do athletes prepare mentally?
There are several ways to boost mindfulness for athletes. This should train the brain to remove distractions and focus on the present moment. Here let’s take a look at some mediation practices that athletes can include in their training regimen.
- Conscious breathing
Spare a few moments of your day to pay close attention to your breathing. This can be done before or after your daily exercise or training. It helps clear the mind and calm your brain. It can also help you consciously regulate your breathing, especially for shallow breathing. To do this, find a calm corner, sit comfortably, close your eyes, listen to your breath, and begin deep breathing. Focus on your inhalation and exhalation. Begin with five minutes and then gradually increase it.
- Body awareness
Increase your body awareness to calm the mind, release physical stress and be conscious about your body. Find a quiet place and lie down with your legs relaxed and palms facing up. Close your eyes and begin feeling your body. Start with your lower extremities. Feel your toes. Are there any sensation? Do they feel cold or warm? Focus your attention to your toes for a few minutes then move up to your legs, hips, upper body and up to your head. Spend some minutes for each body part and consciously feel the sensations there. Breathe in and out. Practice holding stress and releasing it for each muscle group. Perform body scan at least 10 minutes every day. This meditation practice should keep you highly aware to what’s happening in your body – something you’ll need in sports.
- External and Internal Messages
What you say to your inner-self as well as to your family and friends can shape your mental state which in turn can translate into your poor performance. For instance, if you think negatively about your training, you can suffer a bad fate during your actual game. So, be extra mindful about your thoughts. Block out any negative emotions before they even get into your performance. Feed your mind with only positive thoughts and take them with you during your big event. Speak in terms of what you want to achieve instead of looking at the negative end. Words like “I failed in the practice” or “I hope I don’t lose the game” should be replaced with “I am doing better in practice” or “I will do good in the game.” These positive reinforcements should encourage you to do better.
Do these simple mindfulness practices and see how it will change your performance! What other meditation trainings do you do to prepare for major games?