It is often said that sports are 90 per cent mental and 10 per cent physical. Some athletes will argue that it’s even more than 90 per cent. “There is no physical - it’s all mental,” says Simon Whitfield, triathlete and double Olympic medallist. “The single most important thing you can do, in my opinion, is learn to meditate.” Meditation is a very popular practice athletes use to get their minds laser-focused for competition.
In case you didn’t already know, meditation is the art of focusing on a single point. It can help performance by reducing stress, increasing your focus and improving your overall emotional wellness. Even if you have never meditated before, take a look at these eight tips on meditation and try them out before your next big game or competition.
1. Start small
3 – 5 minutes of meditation is all you need to start with. You can increase the time as you feel comfortable.
2. Get a timer
Set a timer so you’re not constantly checking the clock (which would take away from the goal of total focus).
3. Stretch it out
Before you start, stretch out your limbs so your body will be more comfortable and relaxed.
4. Be comfortable
You can sit down or lie flat. Your eyes can be open or closed. Pick a comfortable position that allows you to focus on the task at hand.
5. Choose a quiet space
Try to find a meditation space where there will be no distractions, whether it’s phones ringing or people walking by.
Breathe naturally and focus on the movement of your body as you breathe. If your mind wanders, try to bring your focus back to your breath.
7. Have purpose
Focus on a single point whether it’s a single word, mantra, repetitive sound or your own breath. When random thoughts come to your head, simply acknowledge them, let them go and concentrate on your awareness of your body.
8. Seek out instruction
If you’re having trouble finding what to focus your mind on, find a book on meditation or download an app to talk you through it.