You spend hours training your body.
It is just as important to train your mind.
Learn how to use mindfulness
to find flow in sports and in life.
Mindfulness can enhance athletic, and academic or work performance by:
- Strengthening mental focus, physical awareness, and emotional resilience
- Providing specific ways of working with distracting or negative thoughts and feelings
- Increasing the ability to persevere during periods of plateau, set-back, and injury
- Intensifying your natural love of your sport
- Intentionally creating a positive, collaborative team culture
- Making wise, healthy, compassionate choices when faced with challenges, temptations, and risks
Here’s a short list of some of the athletes and teams that have used, or are using, mindful- ness to enhance performance:
- the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, the two most successful teams ever in the history of professional basketball, with multiple NBA championships between them;
- the Boston Red Sox; Shawn Green, multi-record- setting baseball player; Tim Lincecum, World Series pitcher for the San Francisco Giants; Derek Jeter, shortstop for the New York Yankees; the 2016 World Series–winning Chicago Cubs;
- Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Trainor, Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists;
- Novak Djokovic, winner of twelve tennis Grand Slam titles;
- Sam Mikulak, US Olympic gymnast;
- the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens; the Seattle Seahawks, 2015 NFL champions and 2016 runner- up;
- the US national BMX team, including 2016 Olympic gold medalist Connor Fields;
- and the Golden State Warriors, 2015 and 2017 NBA champions. In fact, the Warriors’ declared core values are joy, mindfulness, compassion, and competition (Kawakami 2015).
Take your training to the next level.
With guidance and practice, you can learn to use mindfulness to enhance your training, deal with injuries and other challenges, and give yourself a competitive edge. These skills can also be of benefit in the classroom, at work, and throughout your life off the court or playing field, and out of the pool….
Mentally prepare yourself,
your athletes, and your team for competition.
Mindfulness is an ideal tool to allow you to bring out the best in yourself, your athletes and your team. In the heat of the moment it is easy to loose sight of our intentions and coach in ways that are, at best ineffective, and at worst actually detrimental to achieving our highest aspirations. With practice, mindfulness can help you to create a supportive team culture, keep your cool, see clearly what is called for in a pivotal moment, diffuse negative team dynamics, and inspire your athletes to give their best in practice, competition, and life.
When you and your athletes learn mindfulness together, you have a common language for dealing with the up and downs of training and competition. Sharing this mental training with your team will allow them to make the most of your coaching and their natural talent, and ultimately to perform optimally.[/wptabcontent]
A lifetime of preparation
My work with athletes and coaches is informed by:
- being a young gymnast with minimal natural talent and unwavering commitment
- being coached by one exceptional and many competent gymnastics coaches
- having surgery on my right shoulder in 7th grade and my left shoulder in 8th grade
- coaching young gymnasts as a teen
- choosing to visit a friend, paralyzed in a fall from the high bar, in a rehabilitation hospital on my way from school to the gym almost every afternoon during my junior and senior years of high school
- being a walk-on varsity gymnast at Stanford
- experiencing fear and choosing to leave gymnastics
- becoming a competitive cyclist
- being hit by a car while riding (which synchronistically led me to mindfulness)
- establishing a long standing passionate mindfulness practice
- becoming a devoted recreational athlete upon entering my third year of medical school
- developing a yoga practice
- coaching 5-8 year olds in youth soccer
- mindfully learning to snowboard at the age of 40
- being a parent of one professional athlete, and one performing artist
- sharing mindfulness with many young athletes from very young youth soccer players to Division 1 varsity athletes
- and most importantly, for the last 25 years, working weekly with my transformational life coach, Georgina Lindsey. More than anything else, this extraordinary longstanding relationship has taught me that the skill, rigor, and compassion of a truly excellent coach nurtures what is best and truest in her/his players.