Mindfulness in Athletic Performance

While we’ve been watching the coverage of the athletes competing in Rio over the last few days, we’ve noticed some themes taking shape: Mindfulness, Meditation, and Visualization.

Mindfulness & Meditation

More and more athletes have been talking about their training and how they’ve incorporated meditation and mindfulness into their practice. There is a direct correlation to mind/body training that improves athletes overall well-being and performance. Over the course of the games, we will be identifying key performance indicators that we’ve noticed and sharing them with you via our blog. To get us started, we selected four athletes competing this year and how they use mindfulness, meditation and visualization to focus, stay in-tune with their bodies and keep their eye on the prize.

Tom Daley

Source: Instagram @tomdaley1994

Source: Instagram @tomdaley1994

“Every morning I do 10 minutes of mindfulness where I do meditation and I use that in competition and everyday life,” he reveals. “I started doing it at the beginning of this year and I’ve done it every day since. It’s helped me massively and I feel like that’s one of the reasons why this year I’ve been the most consistent that I’ve been in competition.” The Telegraph

Sam Mikulak

IMG_5927

Source: Instagram @samuelmikulak

The most important 15 minutes of Sam Mikulak’s daily routine doesn’t come in the gym or the weight room. They usually take place early in the morning, shortly after he pulls himself out of bed at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

There in the stillness, the best American male gymnast of his generation turns his mind into a blank slate. Nothing is allowed in. Not worries about whether he can find a way to combine consistency with his considerable talent. Not concerns about the ankles that are always one iffy landing away from disaster. Not the stakes as he prepares himself for another Olympic moment, one with significantly higher stakes than four years ago in London. – NBC

Visualization

The use of “visualization” in sports psychology has been used for years in the training of elite athletes. While this practice is more difficult to master, here are some helpful links that can make it more attainable. Combining mindfulness and visualization can be a significant tool in helping athletes achieve their peak level of performance.

Kerri Walsh and April Ross

Source: Instagram @kerrileewalsh

Source: Instagram @kerrileewalsh

“A lot of what we do is visualization,” Walsh told USA TODAY. “To be able to … take in the sights, the sounds, the stress, the excitement — that’s going to serve us really well moving forward.” USA Today

Look for more from Spire over the next couple weeks as we bring you more insights and personal stories of professional athletes embracing mindfulness as part of their training to claim the title of “best in the world.”

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