The foam rolling check-in is meant to build mindfulness-based mental skills work into your daily routine.
Mindfulness is the ability to be in the here and now, not judging or attaching to thoughts and emotions (letting them come and go) while focus stays fixed in the present and on the task at hand. Coaches and athletes talk about this quality as something they look for on the court, field, or during training.
Fitting short mindfulness-based skills into prep work you're already doing on a daily basis helps facilitate being mindful or 'engaged right here, right now' more consistently without adding extra training time.
The exercise I'm giving you facilitates mindful attention, which includes some the qualities listed above, during foam rolling. Our goal is to help you or your team bring the brain and body into the same place at the same time whether you're using foam rolling as part of your movement prep or recovery work. See below for instructions and the exercise itself.
Foam Rolling Check-In
When we engage in this exercise, we’re trying to be open and notice what’s happening in the present moment.
It’s an open investigation and we’re curious – we’re not taking anything to court.
Our goal is to ensure that our minds and our bodies are in the same place at the same time, meaning we're not 'getting stuck' in our thoughts.
To do this, we ‘Check-In’
Check-In - Foam Rolling:
While you're preparing to foam roll (i.e. finding a roller, space, taking off your shoes, etc.) We’re going to examine our external world.
Notice what your senses are picking up
What sights, sounds, smells, touch, and temperature?
When you're ready to begin foam rolling, gently shift your focus of attention internally - to what you're feeling physically.
As you scan each muscle with the roller, is there any tightness, dull ache, sharp pain, tingling, or muscle twitching?
Is there anything that feels particularly good?
When you do find a spot in need of release, focus on the physical sensation created by the foam roller's pressure on that spot as you take 5 deep breaths in and out.
Scan the muscle again with your roller and repeat as necessary (in alignment with your S&C's instructions) before switching muscle groups.
It is natural for the mind to wander. If you catch your attention drifting elsewhere, notice this without judgement or blame and gently shift your focus back to what you are physically feeling.
When you are finished rolling, notice that you now feel more focused and attentive.
***You’re welcome to put this into your own programs, on your own templates, and use your team’s logo.Unless you’re experienced with mental skills training, it’s not recommended you alter the instructions.For coaches, I’d recommend laminating a copy and putting it near your foam rolling area.Once the foam roller check-in is well-learned and athletes understand its purpose, you can cue it with a quickverbal reminder pre- or post-training and pre- or post-event as part of prep or recovery.Cues may be: ‘check-in,’ ‘feel what you’re doing,’ ‘brain and body; same place, same time.’***