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The Best Meditation Training for Sports



Mindfulness is a hot topic these days and athletes have especially good reasons to pay attention to this trend. Mindfulness is commonly defined as non-judgmental attention to the present moment, and for nearly 30 years scientists have been studying the effects of this and other types of meditation on athletes. Studies have found the benefits to be incredible: reduced anxiety, decreased injuries, improved athletic performance, and better tolerance of negative experiences, to name a few. From LeBron James to Lionel Messi, elite athletes are incorporating meditation into their training regimens with incredible results.

If you’re an athlete who’s interested in enjoying the benefits of mindfulness meditation, classes are offered in a variety of settings. From gyms, yoga studios, spas – and even mobile apps – there are endless options, which can make it difficult to know which program to select. As you sort through your choices, here’s a guide to help you pick an athlete-focused meditation program that will help you become a happier and more focused competitor.

  • What is the program designed to do? Not all mindfulness programs are the same, nor are they all suited to the unique needs of competitive athletes. High-level competition creates an intense environment, causing athletes to suffer from anxiety and stress at much higher rates than the average person. Be sure to select a meditation program that’s designed to address your unique mental, emotional and physical needs.

  • What’s the format? If you’re new to meditation, it may seem like all classes offer pretty much the same thing, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Depending on your goals, you could benefit from guided meditation, breathing meditation, body relaxation, compassion meditation, or a host of other options. You’ll also find a difference between live, online, recorded and mobile app meditation. There’s no one right solution for everyone, and if you don’t know the difference, ask questions until you have enough information to decide.

  • Who’s teaching the course? While there’s no license required for meditation instructors, it’s a good idea to evaluate the teacher’s credentials. Look for a teacher with at least 5 years of training, ideally someone who has experience working with athletes. Ask what type(s) of meditation they teach and any other information that will help you get comfortable.

The bottom line is, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to meditation. The type of meditation, frequency and delivery method you choose will depend on your own unique needs and preferences. As an athlete, meditation training has the potential to enhance your sports performance, reduce stress and generally make you happier and more relaxed. Enjoy!

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Eva Bart-Williams is a mental performance coach with a private practice helping individuals and teams achieve big goals. Eva is also CBW Soccer Elite’s head of operations, where she helps athletes embrace the challenges of high-level competition and advises families on the college soccer recruitment process. You can reach her at eva@cbwsoccerelite.com.

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