Meditation is not the solution; it’s the tool for better solutions.
NO MATTER YOUR age, it is incorrect to believe that exercising longer and harder is the only way to succeed in sports. It is also related to mental preparation.
But why is it so crucial? How often have you told yourself, "I was crap because I couldn't focus" or "I wasn't myself today." But, more significantly, how many victories have you lost due to mental chatter? The truth is essential cognitive variables connect to your athletic character.
Football's competitive setting has little effect on your athletic ability. If you have adequately trained during training, your endurance, speed, or talent will only vary significantly during a match unless you are injured.
Lack of mental endurance, on the other hand, can swiftly change the setting for you, causing your performance to fluctuate owing to psychological and emotional shifts.
Everyone can lose focus at any time, and it's usual for athletes to lose focus and mind control in a split second. This loss can impair your performance even at the physical level. These psychological drawbacks can be avoided by teaching the mind to regulate stress, negative thoughts, and emotions.
Though professional athletes' physique is the most prominent aspect of their game, their mental preparation is just as necessary—and can be just as tricky. Distractions are unavoidable, failure looms, and the mind has the same ability to derail a victory as any physical damage. They must, therefore, train to control their brains, concentrate, emotional mayhem, and achieve the state of flow that results in highlight-reel performances. And it must begin as soon as possible. The earlier you develop these abilities, the better because as you go through various levels of sport, and as the pressure and demands increase, you'll be robust and able to manage these demands. You must train mentally, just like any other physical skill—it doesn't happen instantly.
Every athlete I have worked with faced this challenging issue; some were successful, while others were not. Athletes who do not handle the mental aspect of their sport never attain their full potential. Most will abandon sports prematurely in a sad heap of tense dissatisfaction, abandoning what was supposed to be their legacy.
How do I get athletes out of their heads and into the game?
Mindfulness meditation – is an excellent practice for learning to balance your mind, particularly during stressful circumstances or in a competitive environment. Athletes face comparable issues regardless of their level of devotion to a sport: sadness, pressure, stress, anxiety, inconsistent attention, and lack of confidence are among the most prevalent.
The image of a man with a long white beard sitting cross-legged on top of a mountain, living in seclusion until the magical day they achieve enlightenment is partly why so many people are sceptical when they hear about meditation. That aside, being fully aware in every moment without judgment can be a big game changer.
A regular mindfulness meditation practice can assist you in developing the mental endurance required as an athlete.
Check out all of the advantages:
Stress reduction: Stress and anxiety will decrease if your mind is present in the moment and not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the more you focus on the present moment, the lower the levels of Cortisol (stress hormone) in your body.
Being able to concentrate completely: Being present in every moment is more complex than it appears. It necessitates a high level of concentration. Meditation can improve your capacity to focus.
Face your fears in new ways: By not obsessing over your anxieties and instead being present, your brain can calm the part of the brain that regulates fear. That is, when it comes time to confront your fear, your mind will be calmer and able to analyse any information or experience with a new perspective.
Pain management: One of the most critical lessons from Mindfulness Meditation is to embrace the present moment and tune into your bodily sensations. It's shown to assist athletes in managing discomfort even when under duress.
Resilience and optimism: Meditation allows you to disconnect from problems and past mistakes and focus on what is in front of you. By learning to focus on what is essential, you can remove yourself from harmful ideas and instead focus on your genuine goals.
Improved emotional control: We've all experienced the emotional rollercoaster that is competition. Meditation, on the other hand, teaches you to be aware of what's happening inside you so that you may let go of those feelings and respond better to challenging situations.
The main difference between No. 1 and No. 100 is in their head. N0.1 can make better decisions, stay focused, and maintain emotional equilibrium. Their talents and physical training are top-notch at that level; their ability to think strategically and block out the pressure and anxiousness during a match makes them great players.
So why not give it a shot? When I worked with former Chelsea and England left-back Ryan Bertrand, meditation increased his mental endurance, provided a competitive advantage, and made him a better athlete.