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Meditation

Meditation Benefits for Athletes

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.

Increase Focus

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.

Eliminate Distractions

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.

Increase Memory

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.

Conclusion

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.

6 thoughts on “Meditation Benefits for Athletes”

  1. I appreciate your praise of meditation and I agree on the benefits you have mentioned. My primary concern now as a person who’s convinced of the value of meditation is, the actual how. How do you actually do meditation? What are the secrets to successfully implementing a meditation activity? I asked this because, I have tried in the past, but only ended up being distracted while meditating. You know, I have this mind with the habit of constantly thinking, thinking about ideas in online business, it won’t stop. So, while meditating, all of a sudden, thoughts about my online business get in! It’s so disappointing and I am wondering am I doing meditation wrong?

    1. Great question Gomer! I would encourage you to check out the Namaste Podcast website. That’s where Katie explains more about meditation and actually offers several guided meditations for you to try out. For me, meditating starts with sitting down and simply paying attention to my breath. The thing you have to remember is that the goal of meditation is not to NOT have thoughts, it’s to recognize that YOU are not YOUR thoughts. You are separate from your thoughts. It’s okay to have thoughts when you’re trying to meditate. Let them move through your mind while you continue to bring your focus back to your breath when you feel distracted. Meditation is like anything. It takes practice but, over time, you will see amazing results. You might also enjoy joining Katie’s Facebook group where she has a bunch of free resources on meditation and manifestation. 

  2. I was a college athlete many, many, many years ago (sprinter and hurdler) and can totally relate to the need for focus.

    You had to control your breathing before the race, plan it out in your head and then execute that plan with as much concentration as you could muster.

    The word “meditation” wasn’t even around back then but maybe we were practising a form of it anyway.

    The benefits of meditation that you describe are impressive, particularly increasing your memory before an exam.

    And yes, the Kiwi Haka is pretty intimidating and clearly aimed at messing with their opponents’ heads and destroying their focus. I would imagine a bout of mindful meditation back in the dressing room would help the other team stay focused on their own game.

    1. Hey Phil! It sounds like you guys were absolutely meditating before your events back in your track and field days. It’s funny how some things change and some things just take on a different name and we pretend that they’re a shiny, newfangled invention. Thanks for the comment! 

  3. The first two are definite reasons why athletes should involve themselves in meditation. I never knew that it could improve memory, however, so that was definitely an interesting topic. The stress of sports, especially at the college and pro level, is something misunderstood by the masses, but there are many who struggle with the mental demands. Meditation provides a natural antidote. 

    1. Thanks Todd! I think the masses certainly do misunderstand the mental stress that public performance can place on today’s athletes. Even when some of them bring up their mental struggles, they’re looked at differently. Mental health, in my belief, is just as important to an athlete’s success as their physical attributes and training. 

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