In sports, it’s often about getting bigger, faster and stronger. Too much emphasis is placed on physical prowess that the mental readiness of athletes usually takes a backseat.
It should never be that way.
Athletes need drive, focus, and determination to win — qualities that aren’t embedded in sculpted arms and rock-hard abs. These three brew in the mind. If athletes are caught in anxiety and worry, they won’t be able to keep their eyes on the prize. They won’t be driven. They won’t be focused. They won’t be determined. All that practice and exercise will just go down the drain.
Meditation helps to keep athletes psychologically strong, and here are easy techniques to get their heads in the game:
Start Your Day with Mindful Breathing
If reaching for a cup of coffee is the first thing you do every morning, put it off for at least five minutes. Start your day by breathing in and out deeply and slowly. Sit up straight, close your eyes and pay attention to your body as you inhale and exhale. It will give you a daily dose of clarity and calm. Do this exercise whenever you feel your nerves are taking over before or during a game.
Ease Tension through Body Scan Meditation
Tension and restlessness can definitely throw athletes off their game. Get these two out of your system through Body Scan Meditation. Find a quiet place where you can lie down, close your eyes, and be alone for at least ten minutes.
Relax your body and shift your focus to your toes. Pay attention to the sensations. If they feel tensed, will your toes to let go and relax.
From your toes, gradually move up, pausing for a few breaths on every body part: soles, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, neck and head. As you travel from one body part to the next, direct your breath to where there’s tension and feel it relax.
This technique will help you be more aware of your body and keep stress away.
Be Deliberately Positive
Athletes aren’t immune to insecurities. A bad game or a seemingly better player can make any athlete question his skills. To keep the mind resilient against negative thoughts, strengthen your mind with positivity. Whenever an “I-Can’t” thought or feeling crosses your mind, let go of it right away. Don’t give yourself a chance to latch on to it.
Instead, focus on “I-Can” statements, repeat, and believe.