Meditation is an excellent tool for resetting your brain and emotions. Many athletes such as LeBron James, Derek Jeter, and Kobe Bryant use meditation regularly to perform at their best. In this blog I’m going to outline meditation benefits for athletes. These benefits apply to athletes of all ages and can have a compounding effect the more you meditate, so start now.
Mindfulness meditation teaches the mind to continuously come back to one focal point. Sometimes it’s the breath, sometimes it’s a candle or a mantra. Regardless of what it is, your mind will not remain focused for long. That’s pretty much universal with all minds.
But meditation can help. When you practice mindfulness meditation you learn to bring your thoughts back to your focal point again and again. Eventually your mind will wander less as your focus increases. This can help you remain focused on your goal throughout competition.
As a college cheerleader I was always so impressed by the football player’s ability to focus on the game with women jumping around in short skirts directly behind them. As an athlete, it’s your job to remain focused on one thing, the game.
This is often easier said than done and meditation can help you get it done. As you work to bring your brain back to a focal point again and again noises from the crowd or distracting images will impact you less and less.
Keep Competition Out of Your Head
Sometimes the biggest distraction isn’t the crowd or noises but your competition. Anyone who has ever seen the All Blacks Haka knows what intimidation looks like. This tactic is used to get into the heads of their competition. This makes the other rugby team believe the All Blacks are far more fierce and strong and therefore, more likely to win.
Intimidation gets into your head. It makes you believe you are less than your competition. It makes you fear the other team and therefore, not work as hard out of concern that you’ll get hurt going up against someone so strong.
Athletes who meditate are more equipped to deal with intimidation because they have more control of their mental state and thoughts. This allows them to remain focused on their skills and perform at the highest level.
I’ve personally seen meditation increase my memory before exams. In college when I would meditate before a big exam and I always performed better than when I didn’t. This is likely because meditation gives your brain an opportunity to rest and process information.
All day every day our brain is processing information both consciously and subconsciously. Just like your phone or computer, your brain needs to recharge. Young athletes are in school, training for their sport, memorizing plays/maneuvers at the highest level. Additionally, they are dealing with the stresses associated with growing up in today’s world. They need to rest their brains from time to time.
This brain rest allows your mind to process information from the day and move forward with the clarity you need to remember everything you’ve been working towards.
Meditation is good for humans in general but it’s especially beneficial for young athletes. The next time you have a big game or competition to prepare for, work meditation into your daily routine. I recommend meditating immediately after you wake up and/or right before bed.