Mindful Leadership | Mindfulness for Professional Athletes
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Mindfulness for Professional Athletes

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Sport events are often won by the individual and or team who can RESPOND (not react) under pressure.

It’s our thinking in a competition that becomes crucial for winning, especially if our competition is conditioned in the same way as us.

Individuals and teams search for the differentiating factor more than ever before. All players are exposed to advancements in technology and new training methodologies. This global availability of information and resources has limited the hurdles to performance dramatically.

What is a Mindfulness-Based Offering and where does it fit in?
Sport Psychologists focus on the inner world of the players and assist players to perform optimally by exploring beliefs and other psychological factors that might be a hurdle to performance. Mindfulness develops the skill to know HOW to focus on what is needed in a specific situation.

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.― Eckhart Tolle

We can only perform in the present, in the now. We can only perform in this line out, this over, this race, this point…
However, often we are distracted by:

  • The past: What happened 5 minutes ago, 5 games ago….We regret and judge the past. I should have… I ought to have…
  • The future: What needs to happen next, what should not happen. We worry about the future…
  • Them: The opposition, the media, the crowd, the weather, the umpire/referee, the sponsors…
  • Me: My own stuff. My personality, my mood, my motivation, my physical condition…

When we are distracted, our brain experience stress. There are more variables than what we can control. Our reptilian brain steers to Fight, Flight and Freeze reactions. When that happens our rational and logic pre-frontal cortex (thinking brain) needs to allow “load shedding” to compensate for a higher demand in the reptilian brain. This leads to:

  • Not being as clever as we use to be. We make strange decisions and basic errors in judgment
  • An increase in non-impulse control. We have knee jerk reactions….
  • A need to fight, fight or freeze. We panic, lose patience and or “choke”
  • We react instead of respond. We revert to old habits and patterns.

A Mindfulness based offering cultivates and trains the mind to be more present with acute awareness to a specific situation. It trains and develops the HOW we focus. To focus and to be present is not an attitude or a strategy. It is a skill. It should and can be trained and developed. For a coach to tell and convince the team to focus on whatever is just not enough. Knowledge, attitude and concentration only gets us half way. We need to practice the skill to focus too. Mindfulness trains our muscle of awareness, in the same way we train a physical muscle to perform the way we want it to perform.

Mindfulness enhances the “what” we have learnt. It is the “mother of support and application”. Mindfulness teaches us how we can? focus our full attention in stressful environments.

Mindfulness assists/supports the execution of:
Game plan of the coach, the learnings and work done by the Psychologist, the Performance coach and the player’s skills and attributes.

http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/mindfulness-techniques-athletes/

For more information contact me via casper@mindfulleaderhip.co.za.