Sport & Meditation
Meditation is a word that many people use as a catchall phrase for different cognitive relaxation techniques. Some people consider daydreaming a form of meditation. Others believe that being deep in thought is a way to meditate. While these two practices have value, the formal definition of meditation, is more complex. According to Yoga International, “meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal walking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within.” Instead of consistently evaluating the external world around us, meditation requires introspective evaluation. This can be difficult to attain because we spend the majority of our lives forming relationships and interacting with others, as opposed to developing a better self-understanding. However, treating meditation as a science, with a prescribed process and consistent principles, makes reaching the end goal of introspection a bit simpler.
There are MANY resources on the Internet that provide different forms of meditation practice. Most of them have a focus on breath, concentration, and relaxation. Below is a basic meditation from breakingmuscle.com that is structured for people who are new to meditation. If needed, it may be helpful for a coach to guide an athlete through this meditation. This could simply entail the coach reading through the 8 steps below, and reinforcing them as needed.
You may be wondering how meditation has anything to do with bowling. It seems impossible (and quite bizarre…) to find a time during a bowling game to meditate. However, meditation is not intended to be done during an event. Instead, it can be practiced whenever the athlete finds most suitable. In fact, recent studies have found that meditation is extremely beneficial to athletes for a variety of different reasons. The Huffington Post article, “10 Reasons Why Every Athlete in the World Should Meditate”, is included below. It includes studies and scholarly articles that provide scientific evidence for the benefits of meditation with sport.
Some tips to make your meditation more sport specific:
Visualize a specific technique you are working on
Incorporate a mental image of yourself performing a skill over and over again. Make sure that you are practicing perfect form in your visualization.
Focus on a goal
Whether it’s bowling a strike, or winning a medal, imagine yourself completing your goal. Use visualization to see yourself standing on the podium, and celebrating after a great throw.
Both visualization exercises are best at the end of your meditation, when you are relaxed and focused.