A good carpenter knows that in order to sculpt a beautiful piece of furniture, he needs to have the right tools to do the job. Without these tools, it would be difficult to produce the desired outcome or quite possibly not even get the job done. As a sportsman, your job is to acquire the tools which will enable you to master your sport.
If you are sitting down drinking your morning ‘cuppa joe’, look at the top of the paper and take cognizance of the date, where has the year gone? Life, especially if you live in a city, just seems to be streaming by with no signs of stopping. Your sporting career can feel that way sometimes too. But is it healthy to just keep going or is it imperative for mental and physical health to stop and smell the flowers sometimes?
I am not sure if you are familiar with the phrase “mindfulness” but it seems to be the new buzz word that people are advocating. Mindfulness is the “intentional, accepting and non judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotion, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”
You might need to take another sip of your coffee and read that line again to try and comprehend the essence of the message. Another way of interpreting what mindfulness is, is being ‘present in the moment with intense focus and without judgement’. Later today I suggest you try and find a quiet place, sit down and just listen to, or visualize what is going on in your head.
If you have a million things going on in your life, your mind will seem like it’s the 4th of July. There are probably fireworks going off inside made up of information, ideas, to-do lists, proposals needing completion, dinner plans, birthdays, financial woes and work stuff. It would seem as though every time a cracker explodes into the night sky, each one of those thousands of tiny flares are thoughts going off at the same time.
In order to find clarity, you need to acquire the tools to focus and bring your body and mind back into homeostasis. Your body and mind is, and always will be, about balance and the minute there is an imbalance, it will fight tooth and nail to get back to its “happy state” or balance stated.
When there are too many distractions it is difficult to be as productive, efficient and effective as you want to be on the sports field. Your talent and work rate will disguise your mental weakness quite well, but if you want to be an extraordinary athlete, learning to be mindful will make you a better athlete.
It will allow you to focus on what is important, acknowledge without emotion what is not, and it will give you a sense of clarity and calmness before you go out onto the field to battle.
If you have ever heard from your coach or read that sports is 80 % mental input and 20 % psychical input and you believe it, then why are you not working your mental ability each day in order to succeed.
Mindfulness can be practiced through different forms of meditation that suit your style and needs. It might sound a bit taboo, but what can you really lose doing it 10 minutes a day and what could you possibly gain with more mental strength and performance?