Have you tried meditation to enhance your athletic performance? "You've got to be kidding!" is a typical response. However, after understanding the benefits derived from as little as 10 minutes of meditation just before competing, most athletes are willing to give it a try, and, as a reward, they find their performance becomes more consistent.
Why? Because among the benefits are a reduction in blood lactate levels and a regulation blood pressure which enable athletes to be in a more relaxed flow or rhythm. Brain wave synchronization, another benefit, enables athletes to think more clearly and be more mentally focused. The regulation of cardiovascular and biochemical functioning top off the benefits, enhancing athletes' strength, endurance, and power to recuperate.
For best results athletes should meditate anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour before scheduled competition. If you would like to test the power of meditation, here's all you must do:
1| Commit yourself to meditate for a minimum of five to ten minutes.
2| Find a place where you can be free from sudden interruptions. A quiet place is desirable but not necessary; a chair in the corner of the locker room will work fine as long as you are willing to keep your eyes closed for at least five to ten minutes despite the surrounding activity.
3| Choose a simple, easy to remember word such as "powerful", "team unity", "calm and relaxed" (or whatever word or phrase you are comfortable with) to repeat mentally during the amount of time you've committed yourself to. This is your "mantra".
Example: One athlete repeated the word "poise" because that was the message that he wanted to send himself before the game. He wrote the message on his wrist bands as well.
4| Sit in an upright position, gently close your eyes and repeat your mantra mentally for your committed amount of time. At the end of your time period, stop repeating your mantra, wait a minute and open your eyes. That's all there is to it.
Please note that, during meditation, sometimes you will forget to repeat your keyword or phrase and your mind will wander off for varying periods of time. This is to be expected. Notwithstanding, when you realize that your mind has wandered off into reverie or daydreaming, you simply go back and begin repeating your mantra again.
Written by Nick Rosa, Ph.D.