Mindfulness for Athletes: What it can do for you

They say that 90 percent of your performance is mental. If that is true, why do we spend so much time training our bodies? If it is just a case of mind over matter, surely we should spend a bit more time getting our brains in shape.

According to experts, mindfulness is the real key to getting your mind in top shape. Top coaches from around the globe are pushing pro athletes to start getting into meditation, yoga and the world of mindfulness. They claim that learning how to be mindful can create the difference between great athletes and world class professional sports stars.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an incredibly simple concept that is notoriously hard to grasp. The basic premise is that our brains thrive when they live in the moment. To truly engage in the present and everything that is going on around us, we need to forget about the past and stop obsessing about the future.

By forcing our minds to stop wasting energy by thinking about things that aren’t currently important, we allow our brains to be totally present in the moment. Once you become trained in the art of mindfulness, you can learn how to shut your mind off to certain things. Rather than obsessing over distractions and worries, you can train your brain to live in the moment. When you mind wanders, you can train it to come back to present.

How can I learn mindfulness?

Like any skill, learning mindfulness is a process. You learn a little bit and strengthen the muscles of your mind with each meditation. When you first start out, you will make a lot of major gains then slowly improve your skill set. With time, it becomes more natural and you feel more in control of your mind.

AMANZI Girl Penny swimming
Train you mind, how you train your body in the pool! Photo cred: @pennyhayesnz

There are countless options that will help you get started with the first steps. Ultimately, the way that you learn comes down to your learning style. If you prefer to be part of a group and learn by doing, sign up for a course! If you want to get your feet wet before you sign up for anything, get online. You can find an endless of array of YouTube videos, websites, apps and books dedicated to teaching newbies the art of meditation.

Whatever method you choose, stick with it! Most people who are new to mindfulness tend to feel like they are doing something wrong. They get stuck in the idea of having “successful” or “bad” meditations. It’s important to know that every meditation is helpful. As swimmers, we know that training is always a good thing! Start training your brain now and you’ll be amazed at the results.