Sport: focus on meditation

dans la bio 03 December 2020
La méditation

A newcomer to the sports world, meditation can improve concentration, recovery, stress and pain management, and quality of life in general. It is a new tool that many amateurs and professionals are already putting into practice, with results.

Sport and meditation: a complementary combination

Meditation, especially mindful meditation, consists in training the mind to focus only on the present moment. The mind thus develops the ability to disregard the environment and its distractions, whether they be personal concerns, performance anxiety or social approval. Considered as a real form of training, this ancestral method lets you be more attentive to your body and its feelings, stabilises your attention, improves your concentration and helps you better analyse and manage your emotions. 

What about in the field of sport? Used both as a mental preparation and recovery aid, it limits the impact of stress on results, focuses your attention on movement and physical sensations and helps you better integrate new information and relax after competing. As a result, training and learning are more effective, the pressure of competition and failure is better managed, and errors and injuries are less frequent!

Sportsmen and women and meditation

While the method is ancestral, its application in the field of sport is not. In the 1990s, American basketball coach Phil Jackson was mocked for his use of meditation on NBA team members including Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. However, practice has gradually demonstrated its effectiveness and many big names are now claiming its usefulness. This is the case of Tiger Woods, the famous golfer, Lebron James, the American basketball player, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a vegan bodybuilder, and the tennis player Novak Djokovic, known for his diet without gluten, dairy products or refined sugars. Stacey Ervin, a top American gymnast, explains that he meditates for 15 minutes every morning and for 30 seconds before each performance to visualise his routine.

How to combine sport and meditation

Every sportsman and woman has their own method; the basis consists in concentrating on an anchor point and returning to it gently as soon as their thoughts drift away. The most common anchor point is breathing. Turning to a website, an application or even a coach for support can help you get started. Over time, experienced practitioners manage to meditate alone, whatever the conditions.

Beginners should start any meditation sitting down in a quiet environment, with no external stresses, with their back straight without a backrest and with their hands on their knees. The session can take place upon waking up, before or after a meal, or before or after training. The most essential factor is not duration, but regularity: meditation should be practised as regularly as possible to deliver its benefits and become a reflex. Five minutes daily are better than 30 weekly! As for optimising its effects, combine it with a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, which are all the more essential for sporting performance.