When you are an elite athlete, your life is constantly changing. You sign contracts, you transition from one league to another, you change teams, you change positions. You also have to deal with injuries, distractions, interpersonal challenges, exhaustion, the split second changes you have to make during competition, and the threat of not keeping your contract.
How can you possibly stay balanced in the midst of everything that is happening?
Here are 3 practices that will help you learn the skill of balance:
1. Meditate. Meditation rests the mind and strengthens your ability to focus. You already know how to focus on your sport, of course; this is how you became an elite athlete. Focus is an essential part of any accomplishment. But when you focus too much on your thoughts, they drain your energy. Through the practice of meditation, you develop the ability to simply observe your thoughts, and when you do this, your thoughts quiet down. When your mind is quiet, your brain can rest and refresh itself. And when your mind is quiet, solutions appear that you may not have considered when you were busy trying to figure things out. With a daily meditation practice, you will find that you react more effectively on the field because you have learned to get out of the way of habitual thinking patterns that hamper you. You will learn to trust that you can act spontaneously from a deep and highly effective inner guidance system. More often than not, your game will be on.
2. Slow down and you will get to your destination early. Even if you do not meditate, make space in your schedule every day to sit and do nothing for a few minutes. You will benefit immensely. Tell your mind to take a walk; say you will listen to it later. Turn off your wireless devices, put everything down, and stare into space. Justallow your senses to take in life as it’s happening around you. Be present to the simplicity of the moment. Relax and let go of all the thoughts that weigh you down. Your nervous system will settle into normal functioning. Once you’ve slowed down a bit, you will get to your destination early.
3. Journal. Take time to study yourself and reflect. Do this every day. When you write down your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis, you learn about the empowerment that is inherent in self-study. You are capable of guiding yourself effectively and deliberately toward what you want. When you take the time to listen to yourself, you’ll find that you make good sense! You know what to do. After allowing yourself to fully express your worries and concerns, you’ll find that a solution floats up to the surface of your awareness. Answers are inherent in the questions. You come to trust that you have the answers.
As an elite athlete, you need to stay balanced in the face of constant change, so give yourself space. A musician understands that the space between the notes gives music its power and makes it effective. As an athlete, giving your body the space to rest and refresh itself will increase your capacity to move with power and efficiency on the field. You will then trust that the right move is inherent in the action that’s called for. When you give your mind space to be quiet, you will make decisions that are purposeful and empowered. When you make space to reflect and consider the challenges you face, you will come to trust that you have the answers. Your enthusiasm will increase as you come into balance, making way for guidance from the highly effective guidance system that is inside you. This skill of balance—in other words, of trusting yourself—is an invaluable key to success in sports!
Kamala Nellen is a sports performance enhancement coach in Ventura County, CA, with 40 years experience using time proven tools that dramatically improve sports performance. Contact Kamala Nellen at www.kamalanellen.com to learn the skill of balance. Get Kamala Nellen’s book on Amazon: Working IN: The Elite Athlete’s Guide to Working Out from the Inside.
Kamala Nellen. Coaching for Champions. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.