Any professional trainer will tell you that a strong mind is just as important as a strong body when it comes to a competition.
Whether you are competing against others or just trying to beat your own personal best, having the right mindset is key to success.
Meditation helps the mind in several ways. When done often it can help to relieve stress, improve focus, and even boost your self-esteem. Being able to visualize yourself overcoming obstacles allows you to build the confidence you will need when it's game time.
From just stopping to “smell the roses” to full out Gregorian chants, there are a number of different ways to meditate. Many athletes find mindfulness training to be helpful when preparing for competition. This type of meditation has been gaining serious momentum in the mainstream. Netflix recently released an entire series on this topic and there are several apps available for mindfulness training as well.
Interested in giving meditation a try? Here is a quick mental exercise you can do daily to help pump you up before the big day.
- Find a comfortable place to sit in a quiet area.
- Close your eyes and begin to breath slowly. Try to clear your mind of whatever you were thinking about previously and just focus on your breathing.
- Imagine that yourself at the competition right before it is to begin. For example, if you will be running a marathon, picture yourself at the starting line right when the official tells you to take your mark. Imagine the adrenaline rush and feel the anticipation and excitement as you wait for the gun to go off. Try to feel even the smallest detail that you would be feeling in that very moment- like the wind in your face or the tightness of your running shoes.
- Now imagine the competition has begun. Take a mental trip through the entire competition in fast-forward, slowing time only during the most difficult or momentous parts. For example, if you’ll be competing in a soccer game as a striker, imagine the game in quick motion and slow down only when you score a goal. Think about each step as you blaze past the last defensemen on a breakaway and then boot the ball as hard as you can. Imagine the ball flying just past the tips of the goalie’s fingers and into the net.
- Finally (and most importantly) feel the relief and satisfaction of your victory. Feel the greatness of knowing that you overcame your obstacles, no matter how difficult or strenuous they were. By constantly focusing on yourself achieving what you are fighting for you are building your own confidence and self esteem.
Practicing this type of meditation the day (or days) preceding the event should help pump you up and get you ready for the big day. Remember, you can’t outmatch the rest without believing in yourself!