Everyone knows the benefits of meditation for relieving stress and anxiety, yet few people understand that these benefits can boost athletes’ performances. Training is a vital part of preparation used by athletes, but meditation takes the training one step further by helping to improve the mindset of athletes in every sport.
Physical fitness is just as necessary as mental capability when meeting the demands of professional sportsmanship. Meditation is the tool several top athletes use to reach the highest levels in their game. It involves practicing mindfulness, allowing them to focus on the moment, even during the most challenging moments of their sport.
How Meditation Works On Athletes
Finding the mental ability to be a better athlete can prove quite challenging. Here is how meditation can help you:
Concentrate on the Game
Focusing on the game, whether you are playing in an individual or team sport, even after a setback, is where meditation helps you to move forward. It allows you to overcome the momentary lapse, and instead of beating yourself over it and continuing to underperform, it lets you concentrate on the play ahead. These are the main ways that meditation helps you boost your sports performance.
Reduce Any Performance Anxiety and Stress
Performance anxiety before a significant event is common and affects even the best athletes. Since meditation helps alleviate stress, it makes common sense that practicing it before an important game will remove the pressures associated with any pre-game anxiety you may feel.
Meditation also helps you enter a state known as flow, where everything slows down, becoming effortless. In this state, you have achieved complete mindfulness, where you can reach some of your best performances.
Improve Your Endurance
Including meditation in your training can enhance your endurance, especially if you incorporate goal attaining visualization techniques with breathing exercises. In addition, the awareness created by meditation allows you to concentrate on each muscle, optimizing your performance and protecting you from injuries.
Faster Recovery and Better Sleep
Meditation boosts the immune system, protecting you from illnesses and improves recovery times from sports injuries. All this means that you get more time to train and never miss out on important games.
Furthermore, as an athlete, getting enough sleep is imperative. Studies have shown that people with sleep deprivation don’t only suffer from stress and anxiety but also struggle to maintain their weight, can’t concentrate, and have less motor control. Meditation improves your sleep patterns, helping you avoid all things that can negatively affect your athletic performance.
Getting It Right
Finally, meditation takes practice to perfect, so don’t expect it to work just before a significant event if you don’t do it regularly. Instead, add it to your training, making it easier to reap its benefits wherever or whenever you need it.
Getting Meditation Right
People often find excuses for why they can’t meditate, but it’s easier than you think. When contemplating, there is one thing that you need to concentrate on, and that is your breathing and nothing else. Feel each breath as you take it in and until you breathe it out, but don’t let your thoughts wander to how to change anything about your breathing. Just breathe.
This is significant because it trains you to focus on just one thing. The importance of that shouldn’t surprise you because once you meet your opponent/s in a game, everything else will fade as you concentrate on the task at hand. Breathing exercises take time to master, so persevere.
Don’t set a timer for when you want to complete your meditation; otherwise, you will constantly think about when the alarm will go off. If you need to set a time limit, find a piece of meditation music for your time limit, and focus on your breathing until it’s over.
Finally, guided meditation or yoga are your best options if you can’t get the inspiration to do your mental exercises daily. There are free guided videos on YouTube or Spotify that are excellent to get you started. If you don’t mind paying, several popular apps and websites are available. Yoga combines meditation with mobility, a great way to stay in shape both mentally and physically.
Whatever course you decide to take, meditation boosts your sports performance. So use this guide and get started today. Before you know it, you will reach a level where you can completely block out everything, much like some of the notable athletes that contribute their success to their mental training, including Novak Djokovic and Lebron James.
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