Meditation is practiced by many as a way to calm the mind, center thoughts and prepare for the day. But, how can you make this translate to the basketball court?
First, find a quiet, comfortable place for you to sit or lay in a relaxed position. Then bring 100% of your attention to your breathing. Focus on breathing in for 6 seconds & out for 6 seconds. Doing this will quiet the stream of constant thoughts in your mind.
This is a simple meditation that can be done daily. Start out with 2 minutes, and gradually increase your time with the goal of getting to 10 minutes.
Meditation is the practice of quieting our mind, and focusing our total awareness internally. As we link our mind & body, we are able to heal ourselves from the inside out. Once our mind and body are in sync, both will “team up” to solve any problems you encounter!
As a basketball player, one can use the benefits of meditation to take their game to the next level:
1. Improved Focus – Sometimes we have unforced turnovers, missed layups, poor free-throw shooting, missed defensive assignments, bad shot selection, etc. on the court. These can all be a result of poor focus! A regular meditation practice sharpens your focus, and improves your overall mental performance on the court. After all, the game is 80-90% mental!
2. Speed Up Recovery time – Allow the mind to heal the body by focusing your healing mental energy on your injured/fatigued body parts. By doing so, the body is actually being repaired from within.
3. Reduce Anxiety/Stress – Expectations placed on an individual by them self, coaches, parents, etc. can begin to weigh on them, causing anxiety and stress. This leads to bad performance on the court. Meditation reduces stress caused from thinking about upcoming/past games. One has to “re-mind their mind” that the game should be a source of joy! One plays for the LOVE of the game and not the stress!
4. Stabilize Emotions – A game, a season, a career; all can be a rollercoaster ride with all of the highs and lows that come from the game. As a rule of thumb in an effort to always maintain a balanced level of emotion, “never get too high after a win, or get too low after a loss." Meditation encourages practicing this balance by helping individuals “center” themselves regardless of their current emotional state.
5. Play in the Moment (stay present) – Meditation develops our ability to be 100% conscious in the present moment. In basketball, the high paced action forces players to make quick decisions. Playing in the moment allows for the processing of situations at split second intervals! Players must practice staying in the present moment. BE ENGAGED throughout the game on EVERY SECOND of EVERY PLAY. There is always something that can be done on the court to help a team win.
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