To achieve optimum performance, athletes not only need to train their bodies but also need to have complete control over their minds. Professional players always seem to have a natural ability to create ‘mind over muscle’. What they are actually doing is playing the game mindfully. Having a mindfulness practice helps sports people increase their concentration and focus on their game. It’s about having the ability to see things as they really are without being influenced by mood, fear or other strong feelings. Regular mindfulness practice helps to enhance performance and will prevent burn-out.
Here are some mindfulness tips which will help you to compete at your very best in your chosen sport :-
- Breathe easy:
It’s vital for all athletes to get into a habit of mindful breathing. This is recommended whenever you start feeling stressed out, anxious or insecure. You should try and bring awareness to your breath as much as possible, especially before you perform. It’s important to be aware of the different thoughts coming into your mind, to immediately let them go, like cars passing your house. This will help you to remain calm, sharp and mindful.
- Feel your senses:
No matter what kind of sports you are in, you will get an opportunity for full body awareness. Suppose, you are running, you need to feel the moment to moment connection which your body experiences that includes discomfort as well as pain. The main challenge is to experience that level of sensation and experience its pattern. The mind will have a tendency to wander away – you need to use mindfulness to accept this, and bring your attention back to the job at hand.
Sports people need to be intentional of what they are doing. It’s important to keep your focus, which is an essential part of mindfulness, and not let other thoughts interfere with your performance. Focus on the current moment – whether it is fitness training, a regular exercise routine or the actual event.
- Enjoy common activities:
Practise mindfulness even when you are doing some common tasks, like washing dishes, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, packing your sport-bag, getting ready for an event or simple walking up to a pre-destined area. Suppose you are travelling in a bus, all you need to do is take mindful breaths and start reflecting on the things which occurred throughout your day. This relaxes your mind and helps accept any emotions without fighting with them or trying to avoid them.
- Practise with a fellow sport:
How many times have you faced a situation when you simply wished to end a conversation with someone prematurely and move on? Well, why not start fully listening to what others have to say and then react very honestly to what the other person has to say. You will surely become a better listener and know yourself better, thereby building patience and better friendships too.
- Analyse things calmly:
You need to contemplate your body, feelings and state of mind. Focus on your breath, clear your mind and analyse different aspects of your situation mindfully.
Mindfulness in Sport is all about being fully aware, fully focused and stepping back from your thoughts and emotions! Love & Laughter Always! – John