The Mind in Sports

We are hearing more about being “mindful” in sports and as it is starting to become more mainstream, what does it truly mean and how can it be beneficial on the diamond, gridiron or off the tee. Mindfulness is engaging with the present moment and discovering how we feel, in that particular moment, both in mind and body. What are the sensations moving throughout the core and extending to the fingers and toes? How are we visualizing our next move? How is our opponent visualizing their next move, and can we be two steps ahead of them? How does opening and expanding the body prevent injury and increase power in your game? What does setting an intention for what you want to accomplish look like in your training program?

Mental flexibility correlates to physical stability, essentially becoming more dynamic and efficient in your game. The body is resilient and can perform at a high level, yet it requires rest and recovery in order to rebuild the muscles and mental stamina after a workout. Incorporating mindful practices that encourage the awareness of the mind/body connection can yield higher performance and better recovery times.

Another aspect of the mind/body connection is the way we speak to ourselves, before, during and after training sessions. When we become conscious of our emotions, we are more likely to manage and overcome our fears and adversity by ultimately setting the goals needed to reach the high performance standard for which we are striving. We are also better equipped to invest the time and energy needed to maintain a caliber of mental aptitude that the physical dimension will follow.

Break the mold of traditional training practices and get ready to take your mind to a whole new level. Increase confidence and promote a more positive attitude towards competition by becoming better at interpreting the communication between the mind and body. Lower stress and anxiety associated with playing while releasing feelings of tension, spending more time winning the game.

Full Potential

Whether in sports, business or life, bringing awareness to the steps taken towards

reaching your goals, helps advance the plan and bring it to fruition. Mindful performance

encompasses the act of slowing down in order to reach your full potential in every

dimension. When we concentrate on all the “noise” in our lives, that we created out of by our own distractions and procrastination, then we miss opportunities to truly focus on what is important to us.

The first step in the mindful performance process is clarifying your purpose in whatever

dimension you are concentrating in any given moment in time. When in sports, it

can be used to connect your mind and body through the movement of your golf stroke,

tennis swing or crossfit routine. In business, it can be used by changing the mindset of  your leadership team to positively influence the communication through the ranks. In life, it brings attention to the highest & best priorities that will fulfill you and your strengths.

Imagine your brain as the Grand Canyon, the pathways through the canyon become

deeper and more layered as the water flows quicker and stronger. The same applies to the neural pathways through the brain; they become deeper and more engrained with our thoughts and feelings. Like water, our thoughts can allow us to feel stuck or can allow a flow, it is our choice to which one we decide to give our power. Now imagine yourself participating in your favorite sport, where your mind and body can feel open and expansive, versus closed and contracted.

What are the standards of performance for yourself in each dimension? How does your

self view create a higher or lower standard for how you perform? Who decides whether the standards are high enough? Do you lower your standards in order to please someone else? Do you settle for mediocrity because someone’s standards are not congruent with yours? What feelings and emotions does that breed and where in the body does it manifest?

Thoughts are powerful, even if they are fleeting…they have a physiological effect in the

body and often manifest as chronic pain or aching feelings. This is the mind/body connection and although we don’t always give credit to the awesomeness of our body, we think something needs to be fixed or something is wrong, when actually the stress and tension that our thoughts are creating is what is causing the body to react.

Why is this important? In order to truly have an awareness of the body, we must notice

how each dimension is helping or hindering the awareness of what is

happening inside the body and the mind. Next month, we will delve into the process and paths that your thoughts take once they enter our consciousness! 

Until then, Namaste.