The Benefits of Mindfulness in Competitive Sports
As a powerful meditation tool that gains more and more recognition, mindfulness is greatly appreciated for its ability to help regular practitioners have a better grasp of the surrounding reality. Growing, science-backed research brings more evidence of positive influences it has on our body and mind. No wonder then there are voices encouraging competitive sportsmen to take advantage of this approach.
Mindfulness may sometimes be perceived as a simple relaxation technique. While it definitely will serve this purpose, it is not just a way to meditate. It does involve it, but the most important thing here is shifting one’s attention to the present moment, and truly noticing the experiences happening right then. So how does it transfer to the world of demanding sports disciplines? If it is generally designed to improve our wellbeing and help us live a healthy life, then it would be beneficial in various aspects of said life, including those of professional athletes.
Above all, practicing meditation with the idea of being mindful can significantly improve focus and attention, which is rather crucial factor that ultimately decides on the win or defeat in the long run. Doing it right should prove effective when under pressure. It could make it more likely for the player to ‘get in the zone’, be less prone to distractions and more committed to further improvement. As the result, seeing the actual effects of keeping the head in the game and concentrating efforts in the actual moment, could raise confidence, self-awareness and self-assurance. Believing in one’s abilities is a huge part of success in any discipline. Plus, all that will pay out in time of weaker form and other testing moments, which undoubtedly have to come sooner or later.
Sportsmen on top levels are dealing with waves of emotions, just like any of us. It is probably worse for them, as everything they go through is enhanced by pressure and expectations. Perhaps, it is one of the reasons many promising talents get lost along their way, overwhelmed by negative thoughts, and they end up having much less fruitful careers that they could have had. Mindfulness can be a productive way in setting their minds on the right track, especially at crucial moments like facing challenges, overcoming obstacles, fulfilling desired goals, recovering from injury, approaching major milestones, having difficult period and similar problems.
Dealing with anxieties and maintaining proper focus could be even more important in disciplines that require intensive brain activity rather than psychical strength. Although it may not look like it, competing on the highest levels in games like poker or chess takes a toll on the body. Playing poker online using the very best platforms for real money, even from the comfort of your own house, can become really stressful. This is even more true for live tournaments where the opponents can actually see us. The calm and mindful approach might just be the thing to give player an edge over competition, in difficult situations when making a difficult move, or when big money is involved.