A New Approach to the Mental Game of Sports: Mindfulness


A New Approach to the Mental Game of Sports: Mindfulness

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Mindfulness and Sports 

Young man runningYou may be wondering how mindfulness can benefit athletes. To answer that question mindfulness needs to be explained.  By definition, mindfulness is both a way of being and living as a means to develop mental flexibility.  What does this mean to athletes? Mindfulness can train an athlete in two key areas:
1. Awareness of thoughts.
2. Recognizing critical self-talk and how to redirect these thoughts.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness training helps an athlete train their brain to be in the moment, which means not dwelling on past events (mistakes) or anticipating future events (winning or losing).  Athletes spend endless hours training their physical bodies, but what is most interesting is that maybe as much as 90% of the athletic endeavor is mental.  That being said, investing time and practice to the mental side of performance often does not occur.  Many athletes HOPE to experience flow and be in the moment to perform their best when practicing or competing. When an athlete HOPES, there is a open door in the mind to doubt.  That small window can quickly lead to a disastrous athletic performance.  This happens when commitment to the task does not occur and thoughts of doubt creep in. Instead, empower yourself and learn methods to help move in the direction of flow or the “zone”, where you can be fully present in the moment. Mindfulness is a tool that can take you to that place.
 

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