Meditation For Athletes: How It’s Done and Why You Should Try It

By November 10, 2016Between The Lines

You’ve been training hard, even during the off-season, and your body is in great shape for diving, spiking and tearing it up on the court. But, what about the mental aspect of the game? Yes, being physically fit for beach volleyball is important, but your mental stamina is key to gaining a leg up against your opponents. That’s why so many players are opting to practice daily meditation to help them gain control over their mind. So, what are the benefits of meditation for athletes and how can you incorporate it into your daily practice? Keep reading to find out!

Volleyball Player Celebrating Win

What Are the Benefits of Meditation For Athletes?

Reduce Stress

While it is probably impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life, meditation can help to significantly reduce your stress levels both in your personal life and on the court. Stress causes the body to produce high levels of a hormone called cortisol, which causes the body to go into fight or flight mode. As you can imagine, this doesn’t make for great decision-making on the court. Daily meditation can help reduce stress during the game, so players can make calm, informed decisions.

Decrease Recovery Time

A tough workout can sometimes leave players feeling the effects for days. A grueling workout leaves tiny micro tears in muscle fibers that can lead to serious injury if the body doesn’t properly recover. A regular meditation practice boosts the immune system, aiding the body in its recovery.

Increased Endurance

One of the best benefits of meditation for athletes is that, by including visualizations in your meditation practice, players can increase their endurance on the court. By visualizing accomplishing specific goals in the game, players can bring these visualizations to life.

female volleyball player celebrating a championship winClearly, meditation has so many benefits for all of us, especially athletes. So, how can you start incorporating this practice into your daily routine? Let’s break it down.

Start by setting a timer for ten minutes. Find a quiet spot in your home, or outside in a serene area like a park. You can either find a comfortable seated position or practice a walking meditation if movement helps you get out of your head.

Then, focus on your breath and try to drown out the sounds around you. This will be difficult at first, but don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge when you notice your mind wandering away from your breath, and gently pull your focus back inward. If you notice yourself lost in thought, acknowledge your thoughts and let them float by, trying not to attach any emotions to them.

Practice this for just ten minutes each day, at the same time and in the same place. After a week, try increasing the time to fifteen minutes, and continue increasing until you hit a full thirty minutes of meditation each day. Once you start to get the hang of things, you can add in visualizations or mantras to your meditation practice.

If you want to take control of your mind and focus on the mental aspect of your volleyball training, meditation is a great place to start. Dive into your new mental training and share it with others!