Mindfulness for Athletes: Body Scan

As an athlete, it is important that you can move out of your mind and into your body. This is so important for so many reasons. If you are an athlete, I want you to think about this question…could you teach someone to take the perfect shot on goal? the perfect foul shot? make the perfect save? Could you explain exactly how the body should feel in these situations? Have you ever really stopped to FEEL how your body feels in these situations? Probably not. Being able to not only know how to teach someone through explaining or showing how to do these things is essential. However, think about how much better able to replicate the perfect shot or save would be if you could explain or remember how it feels.

Having the right form comes from a few things…one is the knowledge of body positioning but the other is muscle memory. Today, take some time to go outside and mindfully shoot on goal, hit the ball, or whatever you need to do for your sport. Do this multiple times really being in your body. Pay attention to how the perfect shot feels so that you can explain it to someone else. Coaches, do this as well. If you are going to teach your players how to take the perfect shot, shouldn’t you know how to explain how it feels? This exercise takes you out of your head and into your body. It helps you to take the emotion out of what you are doing and allows you to focus more intently. This also helps you to train the parts of your body that you need to make those perfect shots or saves. If you are able to really feel the muscles needed, you know where to focus your training. Getting in touch with the feeling of the shot or save allows you to get in the “zone” so that you are better able to focus on the strategy of the game in key situations. As an athlete, I never used to understand why we would practice the basics over and over and over. I now know that it was so that we could FEEL what we were doing and master that feeling so that it became second nature.

Another great exercise to help to train your brain to really FEEL what is going on in your sport is a body scan. Click HERE for a guided exercise from Stop, Breathe, Think to practice this body scan. This is a great exercise to not only for athletes in training, but also helps to relax.

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