Mindfulness Blog

The Awakened Athlete – Mindfulness for Athletes

| | In Practice

According to an article in the Huffington Post’s Healthy Living:

It’s commonly said that sports are 90 percent mental and only 10 percent physical.

A lack of focus can result in a missed three-point shot, nerves can cause a gymnast to fall out of her landing, and a momentary lapse in confidence can easily make the difference between gold and bronze. So it’s no surprise that some of the best professional athletes in the sports world are turning to meditation — which has been shown to reduce stress and improve focus — to boost their game and ease the anxiety of high-pressure performances.

Athletic greats Joe Namath, Barry Zito and Arthur Ashe have spoken out about the benefits of meditation as a tool for athletic success. And even entire teams have been turning to visualization and mindfulness practices.

hamlineM2 knows the value and importance of integrating mindfulness into all aspects of life; meditation can only enhance an athlete’s focus and performance. In 2014 M2 began a pilot program on mindfulness and conducted group sessions and one-on-one mentoring with the Hamline University Women’s Basketball team.

Initially, the feedback from the players was somewhat mixed. It seemed that some players really craved to learn something that they knew would help them to relax and be more focused in life rather than on the basketball court. Coach Kerri Stockwell stated that it took three sessions and additional resources before some of those “skeptics” started to understand how studying mindfulness would help the team. “I truly believe that mindfulness affects a player’s performance. Being in the moment is critical. One cannot worry about what happened in the past nor overly anticipate the future.” says Stockwell.

Stockwell believes that the team is beginning to have a common language centered around mindfulness and the practice of breathing, which has been helpful for the players and the coaches as well. Stockwell states, “The awareness factor is definitely present and we will continue to talk about its importance. This process has been especially important for a few of the players that are experiencing difficult circumstances in their personal lives.”

The team is on a winning streak at the moment, so perhaps staying “in the moment” is working on the court.

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