September 21st is International Day of Peace. As an athlete, it’s hard to have peace of mind at a tournament or match with all the whistles, screams, and rush of everything happening around you. Stress from life can build up and cause you to have a bad game.
Meditate: to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over
Remember the championship game where you missed your serve every time you went back to the line? Or the bad passes that your teammates had to work harder to get the ball back in play?
Stress, pain, or nerves; whatever the reason you were off your game, meditation can help. Everyone’s nerves get the better of them every now and then, but meditation will help you focus on your game. Meditation has shown many benefits for athletes. Imagine not feeling nervous before stepping onto the court for a big match, visualizing the win and achieving it, and being able to breathe better while on the court.
- Sit up straight, right hand in the palm of the left or hands resting on your knees. Head looking straight forward in a relaxed position. Meditation can be done seated in a chair or on the floor, legs crossed.
- Close your eyes and breathe.
- Focus on your breathing and the inhale and exhale, if needed breathe for a four count to help concentrate.
- After a few moments, start taking deeper breaths. Relax your mind and listen to the sounds around you. Let your mind empty.
- As your mind empties, keep breathing and allow the stress to leave your body.
- Start for 2-3 minutes and gradually add more time as you develop your practice.
Professional and college athletes are taking notice of meditation and incorporating it into their athletic routines. Even four-time Olympic Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings does it!
New York Magazine