The importance of mindfulness for an athlete
Athletic performance and mindfulness is a topic I wanted to talk about because it is an important aspect of an athletes ability to be the level of athlete they want to be. However, often times this is something that athletes don’t really think about or focus on because it is easier to focus on other things rather then what is going within themselves. For me mindfulness is a combination of being aware of your situation and you inner dimensions. So how to things set you off, what triggers you and what you feel inside as a result. Then at the same time being present in a given moment. Feeling what is going on inside of ourselves is not easy, because sometimes it leads us down a path we don’t want. It is much easier to ignore what is happening within ourselves and just keep trying to do the things we always have.
The problem is to really figure out what we can do in any moment to help us we need to know ourselves very well. We need to know how we react in certain situations so we can then know what to do about it. Now many people might know they get angry in a situation but don’t take the time to go deeper to understand what is causing the anger. For instance it might be that the athlete is focusing too much on things they can’t control which causes a high level of frustration and eventually anger, or maybe they are being very critical of themselves and being angry is the only way they know how to get the most out of themselves. Athletes who work with me get to increase their mindfulness because it is the only way to make sure we are implementing the right technique at the right time and can often times stop something from happening before hand. If you are aware of anger rising you stand more of a chance of stopping it and not letting it get to a point where it negatively impacts you. I have this discussion with clients all the time that when they have an emotional outburst the situation it occurred in isn’t really the issue, the emotions started long before hand but they weren’t aware and the emotions were left unchecked, leading to it getting to a point where it was impacting them.
To help increase your mindfulness. Start to get into a habit of checking in once a day and asking your self some simple questions:
- How am I feeling right now?
- What thoughts am I thinking?
- What is going on with my body? Is it calm, agitated, tight, tired.