Mindfulness For Sport

Mindfulness for Sport is a key performance mental skill without which you might just be found wanting when the pressure is up.

Mindfulness for Sport is a key performance mental skill without which you might just be found wanting when the pressure is up.

Mindfulness for Sport; The Power of The Present Moment

In every sport and performance area, there are a significant number of variables and factors that ultimately affect performance and results. Obviously, one of our jobs at Condor Performance (Applied Sport and Performance Psychologists) is to make sure that our clients have direct access to the mental skills that are most likely to help with these variables. Mindfulness For Sport, or Really Simple Mindfulness, is one such skill.

One idea we encourage the athletes and coaches we work with to focus on during training and competition is the present moment. It is here where we have the best opportunity to stay grounded and focused.

What I tend to notice when discussing the present moment with people is that the old cliche of “one step/shot/swing/etc. at a time”. However, without any commitment to a change in behaviour this belief merely acts as a “bumper sticker” mental skill. How about strategies that actually help you remain in the ‘here and now’?

Before I go further, I want to acknowledge a view that I’ve heard that some of the more stop-start sports such as golf, tennis, cricket and volleyball, are better ‘organically’ for staying in the present. There is some logic to this as these sports are broken down into smaller ‘chunks’. For example, separate points of shots or holes. During the period between these events, athletes are able to apply strategies such as pre-performance routines to help stay in the ‘now. Mindfulness For Sport is really about using such routines to ensure this happens.

Even In Dynamic Team Sports

But Mindfulness For Sport can work for all sports, you just need some creativity. Being able to bring ourselves back to the present moment by finding opportunities to break the match/game/race down into smaller events is not limited to start-stop sports.

All sports have natural points of breaks, pauses and checkpoints. These ‘gaps’ lend themselves to being associated with breaking sport down and applying a mental skill at these times.

In basketball, this could be crossing half-court when possession changes. In football (soccer) maybe when there is a free kick or throw-in? For both rugby codes moments when possession changes hands and you are lining up offensively or defensively. Even in swimming how about when you push off the wall to start the next lap?

As you can see, these moments don’t have to be very long. This is because the skills we want to apply are designed to be simple and effective. We don’t want to issues by overthinking via the work through a checklist of items each time this occurs.

If you’d like to ‘dip your toes’ into some more Mindfulness for Sport related techniques for sport and performance then skip straight to the Emotions section of Metuf for Sports by clicking here.