Why Athletes Practice Mindfulness
Plenty of coaches will tell you, success is about ‘mind over matter.’ Increasingly, professional athletes are following this advice.
Mindfulness is all about being ‘in the moment’ and taking time out to get in the zone. Mindfulness techniques include simple meditation and breathing exercises – tricks any athlete could use before or after a game, and even on the bench.
For recently retired World Surf League champion Mick Fanning, meditation helps to ‘centre’ his thoughts in the lead-up to an event. Before almost every surf-meet, fans can spot Mick sitting cross-legged on the beach in deep-thought.
“Before this moment usually I’m all fired up and sporadic,” Mick explained in a recent Instagram post.
“I take this time to calm myself down and visualise a few waves.”
Why mindfulness works:
With so many professional athletes embracing mindfulness, it would be silly to dismiss the power of the mind.
Mindfulness works to reduce stress and anxiety. But perhaps more importantly for athletes, it’s linked to a zen-like state, allowing people to realise their full potential and push through mental barriers.
We like this description from Headspace:
“When we push ourselves to our limits of find ourselves unintentionally pushed by external circumstances, the untrained mind has difficulty. It wants to give in. It wants to retreat back to a place of comfort, safety, and low risk. But meditation builds a certain mental muscle that teaches us to trust ourselves. This trust allows us to accomplish more than we might consider possible otherwise.”
How to practice mindfulness:
It’s not just the pros who can benefit from practicing mindfulness; everyday athletes can reap the rewards too. Use our mindfulness tips to get started.