Search

Check-Ins to Help Ground You: 3 Quick Mindfulness Exercises


Mindfulness is your intentional focus of attention on something without judging it. You may choose to focus on what you're doing (the execution of one or multiple skills), on an object, the play, noises, thoughts, or feelings.

When you're playing sports and it becomes hard to focus back on the game, it's sometimes helpful to focus on something that acts like a bridge between where your mind wandered and the game in front of you. Ideally, you pick something controllable, always present, and in the here and now to act as that bridge. These bridges (sometimes, you'll hear mental skills coaches refer to them as anchors) help to reel your attention in to an easy target, so it's easier to return focus to the game or drill you're about to do.

Find natural breaks in play to use these 20 to 30 second exercises. The last thing you want is to try and use one of these exercises while a rush is coming at you! Pick one and try it in practice until you're comfortable and skilled at it, then, give it a shot during a low-risk game.

Sights____________________________________________

You can tune in to the sights around you as a way to anchor your attention in the present. This specific exercise will take about 1 minute to complete and is intended to enhance your ability to shift attention from one point of focus to another.

Before you enter the training center, take a few deep diaphragmic breaths paying attention to the sounds and sensations it creates. [pause 10 seconds]

As you enter the training center, begin tuning yourself in to the present moment via what you see.

Notice the objects and the people around you.

Choose an object in the training center (an ad, equipment, banner, jersey). Focus on specific aspects of the object and, without labeling or judging, just describe it.

For example, instead of ‘a barbell with weights on it,’ it’s two colored disks with letters and numbers on them, mirrored on either side of a thin gray tube with rough texture. You can list qualities you observe or form a full sentence – it doesn’t have to be perfect, just describe what you see. [pause 20 seconds]

If you notice your mind wander or that you’re judging yourself or the object, gently escort your mind back to the qualities of what you’re observing in detail. [pause 5 seconds]

When you’re ready, shift your attention to what you need to attend to in the present moment.

Pro Tip: This comes in handy down the road – instead of ‘Great. Another breakaway. My defense left me out to dry.’ You will be aware of where your mind tends to wander and capable of just seeing and responding to ‘a breakaway to the right with a trailer.’

Sounds__________________________________________

Sounds will always be around you in training and in games (chatter, weights clanging, own feet, sounds you make with your hands or equipment). You can tune in to the sounds occurring around you as a way to anchor your attention in the present. This specific exercise will take 30 seconds to complete and is intended to help you use sounds as anchors as well as shift attention from internal to external and back again.

Before you enter the training center, take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths paying attention to the sounds and sensations it creates. [pause 10 seconds]

As you enter the training center, begin tuning yourself in to the present moment via the sounds you notice.

Listen to the sounds occurring around you. [5 seconds]

If you notice you’ve judged a sound (e.g. good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant, calming, frightening) or that your mind wandered into thoughts about what you’ve heard, without judgement, escort your mind back to the sounds around you. [10 seconds]

Return your focus to the sounds and sensations created by your breath. [5 seconds]

When you’re ready, shift your attention to what you need to attend to in the present moment.

Breath___________________________________________

Your breath will always be present and available for you to tune in to as an anchor to the present moment. Be aware that your breathing rate will change based on the intensity of the activity you are doing and breathing rapidly isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. This specific exercise will take 30 seconds to complete and is intended to help you use sounds and sensations as anchors as well as help you toward developing mindful awareness and your ability to focus.

Shift your attention inward to feel your body. Notice what you are aware of right now in your arms, legs, hands, feet, neck, and trunk. [pause 10 seconds]

Now, breathe deeply several times and notice the feeling of your own breath as you breathe in and out. [pause 5 seconds]

It is normal for the mind to wander, for you to experience emotions, or other physical sensations as you practice. It’s a reality of being human and doesn’t mean there’s a problem, something you need to fix, get rid of, or control. When you notice your focus has shifted from your breath to another internal happening, without judging it or yourself, gently escort your mind back to the feeling of your own breath. [pause 10 seconds]

Shift your focus to the sound of your own breath as you continue to breathe in and out. [pause 5 seconds]

When you’re ready, shift your attention to what’s happening outside of you, and prepare to begin training.

_________________________________________________

Good luck and enjoy these exercises! Get in touch with Mike Stacey at michael@staceyandassociates.com.

#mindfulness #focus #mindfulnessexercises #sportpsychology

68 views

(814) 207-4284

©2017 BY STACEY & ASSOCIATES ATHLETICS. PROUDLY CREATED WITH WIX.COM