Being mindful is to pay attention to what’s happening in the present moment without any judgment but rather with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to accept whatever it is going on.
The act of being mindful or present during a game or during practice can definitely improve an athlete’s performance. If one spends too much time thinking about the past or the future, it will interfere with their mindset. When our thoughts are all over the place, it creates a stress response, which stops us from being engaged in the present moment. Mindfulness will help athletes with their mind-body connection, focus, attention shifting, and recovery from mistakes. It will also allow athletes to observe parts of their performance without letting intense emotions get in the way, which will improve mistakes.
Some ways to become a more mindful athlete include:
- Sit in silence; focus on your breath and your body for at least 10 minutes a day.
- Reflect on your performance. What went well? What can you improve on? How can you learn from your mistakes?
By becoming more mindful, athletes will improve on stress management, overthinking, recovery from mistakes, focus switching, awareness of when to back off, and awareness of when to turn their energy on.
Through George Mumford’s blog post, “Become a Mindful Athlete Through Meditation” he states when you’re alert and in tune with what is happening in the present moment, you have the capacity to pause and choose the most productive response!
I believe that athletes are more able to deal with stressful in-game situations, whether it’s internal or external distractions, once they are more in tune with themselves and have their head in the game. As a parent or coach, implementing meditation sessions throughout the week will help your child become more aware of their surroundings and it will improve their performance!
Nikki de Ocampo is the Domestic Development Intern at Canada Basketball. She is currently pursuing her Health Sciences Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College, and has a passion for holistic health and wellness