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Seattle Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll was recently featured in Mindful magazine discussing his approach to the mental side of the game. He asks his players to go inside themselves to find the confidence to be the best they can be. His wholistic approach to his players fosters their mental resiliency and provides a grand view of the game of football and life. The central belief that guides Coach Carroll is the belief that the key to success is to nurture each player’s individual growth rather than forcing players to conform to a rigid system.
He says, “Our system is designed to allow players to be the best they possibly can be and to celebrate uniqueness, their individuality. They have to act with the team, but they can do that in a way that illuminates who they are. They say there’s no space for people to be individuals within a team. I think just the opposite.” A key person on Coach Carroll’s staff is Michael Gervais, a sport psychologist with a strong background in mindfulness. Michael Gervais’s goal is to improve focus and inspire peak performance from the players. Mindfulness is a powerful tool to unlock athletic potential.
Awareness, Acceptance and Action are the Mindfulness Steps Used to Help Build Focus and Inspire Peak Performance from within.
Here is an explanation of the 3 A’s and how to use them:
- Awareness means checking in with yourself. Where is your mind? What are you dwelling on? Learn to do mini mental check-ins with yourself and consider these questions. Are you present-oriented? Are you worrying about something you cannot control? This helps build awareness, the tool you need to make change.
- Acceptance means admitting if you are dwelling on thoughts from the past or worry about a future event. Rather than judging yourself or getting caught up in “WHY DO I DO THAT WHEN I KNOW BETTER?”, admitting you are mentally engaging in unproductive thought helps you redirect your focus to an action step.
- Action means doing something necessary to help you return to the things associated with mental strength. Annie Pokorny, a professional Nordic skier, recently wrote an article in BirchScroll saying that positive-thinking athletes are likely to have lower heart rates and better response mechanisms than negative thinking athletes. Positive thoughts are like fuel for the mind. If you really need to change your focus, get into a power stance or power pose as suggested by Amy Cuddy. Do the power pose for a couple of minutes and decide to make a focus or emotional shift.