How meditation can help you to improve your sports performance?

What is Meditation?

Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply in silence, especially for religious reasons or in order to make your mind calm.

Meditation is a whole science that explains about experiencing self consciousness. It cuts you off from the outer world and builds a bridge to your inner state. As a result, your mind becomes more lucid, stress free, and inwardly focused. Infact, it is a kind of mental exercise in which one practices to concentrate on  something . Let it be sound, object, visualization, breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, Practise of meditation has been carried out from centuries in order to reduce stress and promote physical and mental growth.

BTW, I recommend a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart tolley 

Benefits of meditation are supernumerary. Three Thousand studies have been insufficient for wrapping up benefits of meditation. Meditation is good for Improving cardiovascular health, and immune system. It is astounding in reducing hypertension and tension. Meditation relaxes mind and body from stressful ambients. Meditation is a way of connecting you with yourself which benefits personal relationships. It makes you more creative. It is best for improving your memory. All of these uses are just a few to mention.

Sports Performance and Meditation:

Sports Performance:

Sports Performance evaluates participation of players in sports and explains about efficiency of player. Performance of a player shows his inclination towards achievement of his goals. Sports performance is judged on four domains of player. These domains are neuromuscular factors, connection between the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, mental health, psychological and environmental conditions. 

Mental health of players is an important aspect in finding out his performance. This can be achieved by  meditation. In addition to physical advantages meditation offers lots of mental advantages. 

Let’s take an example of Table tennis. No matter how sophisticated tools you have, you must have to be mentally prepared for the game. Now it is an advantage of meditation that you can mentally prepare yourself for the next challenge. Says Owais Shah, Founder of Indoor Champions. 

Benefits of Meditation for Athletes:

Increasing sports performance has been a matter of concern for sportsmen since long time. Different teams search and apply different ways for upheaving their performance. Recently, meditation has become so popular due to its enormous advantages. Due to these advantages techniques of meditation are also being applied in sports to boost performance of players.

Enhances Self Awareness:

Meditation is an enchantment in which you focus on the present moment. This presence of mind makes one more aware of inner and outer surroundings. One become more sensitized to feelings and emotions. Observation improves and one is better to perceive that what is going on around him. This takes us to “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” This state of optimal performance is known as Flow State.

Improved Mind-Body Connection:

MInd and body relationship is a complex phenomenon. According to it positive or negative thoughts have an effect on our body’s physiological functions. If we think positive then our body will react positively whereas negative thinking will negatively disrupt our body functions. Vice versa food we eat also have an affect on our thinking. Meditation aids in achieving perfect balance between mind and body. Understanding this connection opens another dimension for player which elevates his performance. Player become aware of his body. This makes him physically fit, which is the crux of the matter for any player.

Concentration:

While you meditate you usually concentrate on a single object without letting thoughts interrupting you. While you meditate you exercise your brain, that creates new connections in your mind. This lifts up memory and leads players to perfect focus that is necessary for achieving goals.

Stress Reducer:

Stress is the enemy of performance. While under stress, one can make haphazard decisions that can result in blunders. Rehearsing meditation quiets the mind.  According to research in the Journal of Health Psychology ,meditation showed reduction in stress hormone cortisol. Meditation before game can help players in staying composed and perform their best by beating stress.

Source of Self Confidence:

Reduction in stress is directly proportional to confidence gained. Negative thoughts accumulated in mind are shunned by meditation. As a result, the mind becomes calm and performance of athletes increases. Player becomes aware of his abilities which boosts confidence of players.

Lack of Sleep:

Getting proper sleep is crucial for everyone. Our body undergoes repair mechanism while we sleep. According to Journal of Sleep, one can gain weight, suffer from anxiety and  mood disturbance , and face lack of concentration if he is not having proper sleep. Meditation improves our sleeping patterns and induces relaxation response. So that we can have a peaceful sleep.

Meditation for Reducing Pain:

Sports though a healthy activity can result in injuries. Injuries most commonly occur during training. This can bring stress to our body. Doing mediation will actually trigger your immune response so that your body heals in shorter time. Chances of occurrence of common cold are also reduced by regular meditation. Mindfulness meditation is particularly useful in this aspect. It has proven to be excellent in cases of migraines as well.

Endurance:

Among one of the surplus benefits attached with meditation is its remarkable increase in endurance. Meditation provides with both inner and outer strength. Outer strength is of great significance for athletes. Breathing exercises combined with visualization of goals magnifies players lust for success. This makes him sustain through hardships of tough and long trainings.

Meditation makes you brave:

Being an athlete you have to cope up with no. of fears. You can be overwhelmed with anxiety pangs before game or can be afraid of losing game. Solution of fear is hidden in meditation. Meditation fine-tunes our brain part known as amygdala  which is centre of fears. As result fright is controlled remarkably.

How to Apply Meditation Techniques for improving sports performance:

As we have come to know that uses of meditation are difficult to count. Yet it is important to know which type of meditation we should use for enhanced benefits. Application of meditation for each kind of sport is different.

Basically there are two broad categories of meditation

  1. Focused or concentrative meditation
  2. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation can be further subdivided into :

  1. Focused attention meditation 
  2. And Open Monitoring Meditation

Survey have found that focused attention meditation has been particularly associated with closed skill sport e.g gymnastics, archery in which environment is predictable and stable as compared to other games. Open Monitoring Meditation is applied more in open skill sports e.g soccer where game is more physically challenging and fast paced.

Thus in order to gain maximum from meditation, we should not overlook the fine details of meditation.

 

Author – Muneer Shah