How Does Meditation Help Athletes?

How Does Meditation Help Athletes?

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Meditation can improve athletic performance.

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Meditation can be helpful in everyday life, but it's especially helpful for athletes. In fact, many of the world's top sports players meditate, including the team members of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the Mind & Sport Institute. Of course, it should be no surprise that so many elite athletes practice this awareness and relaxation technique, since it can dramatically improve training and competitive performance.


Meditation releases tension, according to Project Meditation. This stress relief might be exactly what an athlete needs to rid herself of pre-game jitters, nervousness and anxiety. Project Meditation also explains that when athletes are able to relax, energy flows more freely throughout the body, greatly improving his capability to perform at a high level. Former athletes like John Howard and Chris Montgomery have said that relaxing through meditation changed their results for the better.


The practice of meditation requires an incredible ability to concentrate -- as do sports. When athletes try to tune the world off through meditation, they are also practicing how to tune the world off in a sports setting, according to Project Meditation. That is, they learn to focus intensely without giving in to the distractions of the world outside their heads, such as rowdy crowds, the weather or an impressive opponent.


Like sports, meditation also requires endurance. After all, meditation takes practice, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. It's not easy to completely tune the world off, so the Vipassana Fellowship recommends practicing for 20 or 30 minutes every day. Eventually, you'll build up your endurance. You'll be able to go on for longer -- both in meditation and in the game.

Improved Performance

Athletes who regularly practice meditation generally perform better during games, matches or competition, according to Kabat-Zinn. After all, many of the benefits of meditation easily transfer over to the sports world, like relaxation, concentration and endurance. By including meditation in the daily preparation regimen for athletes, players ensure they are not only training the physical body, but the mind as well.