Two Exercises for You
(Germer, Siegel, & Fulton, 2005)
Both exercises were pulled from a terrific book called Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. They're hugely useful in sport and are easy to flex to your needs as an athlete.
Exercise 1 is meant to help you notice when your mind has wandered, let go of the distraction, and refocus on a specific thing. In this case, it's your breath. This is 'concentration meditation' and helps you develop a more stable, longer focus of attention. In sport, you may choose to employ this exercise before a match or between long breaks in the action (e.g. between periods, innings, halves, or quarters). The goal isn't to relax before competing - though you may feel more relaxed - it's to reinforce your ability to tune in to a single point of focus and maintain that focus of attention at will.
Exercise 2 is mindfulness or insight meditation. This helps you notice when a distraction captures your attention, accept the distraction as it is without judging or attaching to it, and let it go on its own, then gently return to a specific point of focus for your moment-to-moment awareness. You may find yourself able to do this exercise quickly between rushes or at breaks in the action. When you're having trouble dealing with a specific game event or some distracting thoughts and emotions, giving yourself a moment to notice and 'be okay' with what's happening in the present will help you stay in the game and out of your head.
They both have different functions and help you practice different things. Think 1: letting go and refocusing, 2: noticing difficulties and being okay with them, then refocusing. You may use skills like these on your own outside of the sport environment or find time to creatively implement them during your training and game play.
Hope these help!
When you need mental skills coaching that's a little more in depth than grabbing a few helpful exercises, feel free to;
1.) Email firstname.lastname@example.org
2.) Set a time
3.) Get back to playing your best