Despite being a state of mind more commonly associated with ascetic monks, focusing on achieving inner peace amidst the demands of training is something that all athletes can benefit from. By obtaining a focused state of mind, athletes can perform better, keep calm, and rise to the occasion to win the game they so deeply care about.
There are mental aspects of fitness that need to be worked on in order to increase performance on the field. Building inner resilience increases one’s capacity to handle stress, which can be the key to unlocking performance potential under stressful conditions. Ultimately, mindfulness training can used to cultivate distress tolerance, present-moment awareness, and acute focus to fuel what athletes desire most — results.
What does mindfulness mean and why is meditation important?
Being mindful is the psychological process of being aware of what's occurring in the present moment. That's why the best athletes are also the most mindful. For example, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs champions yoga and meditation as the two off-field activities kept him at the top of his game even into his early forties.
It allows you to deliver when it matters the most
We all tend to get too hard on ourselves when we lose games that we thought we should have easily won. At times, the pain of losing seems too overwhelming for you to recover from.
To recover from these mistakes, scientists recommend an athlete to meditate as it reduces the amount of rumination; which essentially resets the mind to focus on the present. The world doesn’t end just because you lose one competition – chances are there’s plenty more to fight for!
It's a long-term investment for your athletic career
According to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology, motivation and satisfaction are an athletes' greatest asset if they intend to be in the industry for a long time. The study found out athletes who practised meditation techniques were more motivated and are more inclined to follow through on their training program and were more satisfied with their workouts.
In essence, meditation could be the determining factor in giving athletes that extra edge that helps score the game-winning point or allows them to push harder for the extra mile. Start incorporating meditation into your training regimen and allow your mind to catch up with your body. Your performance will only be better for it!