6 Benefits of Mindfulness Practice for Athletes

Enio Sacilotto

Enio Sacilotto is President of International Hockey Camps and operates the Mental Edge High Performance Training. Enio has 39 years of coaching experience (professional hockey in Europe and the WHL's Victoria Royals). Currently, he coaches at the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy and the Croatian National Men's team. If you have questions or are interested in his services, contact Enio at [email protected] or call 604-255-4747

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For mindfulness to work, you must practice consistently and make it a habit.

Many athletes realize their most significant obstacle to reaching their athletic potential is within themselves, their thinking, limiting beliefs, and their focus on the past or the future. These are all distractions that cause stress and take away the focus on playing their sport (the task). Stress has an inverse relationship with performance; the more stress, the more our performance goes down. The less stress, the more our performance level rises. Thanks to scientific evidence, mindful meditation has many benefits for athletes, increasing their performance and getting into a “flow state” or “in the zone.”

When athletes are in a “flow state” or “the zone,” they are entirely absorbed in the task. Imagine you are playing a hockey game. Your total attention is focused on your body movements while skating, passing and shooting. You are living in the present moment; there are no distractions as you are absorbed in the game. You have no consciousness of time; everything is easy, and all your plays and game situation reads are working. Everything seems to be going in slow motion. You are fatigued but don’t even notice it. These are examples of “flow” or “the zone.” Being in this state helps you with your motivational energy and enjoyment of your sport.

​Here is a definition and how it works. “Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that entails intentionally being aware of the present moment and accepting things just as they are without judgment. A sense of calmness characterizes this attention style from seeing thoughts, feelings, and sensations constantly in flux. When able to watch such experiences come and go, rather than latch on to and over-identify with them, a person has more opportunity to take in the fullness of any given moment. This awareness and acceptance of “what is” ultimately allows for greater responsiveness to the self and environment, providing freedom from the reflexive or automatic reactions that so often guide actions.” – Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement: Mental Training for Athletes and Coaches, by K. A. Kaufman, C. R. Glass, and T. R. Pineau

Let’s look at 6 benefits that mindfulness practice can do for athletes.

For mindfulness to work, you must practice consistently and make it a habit . . .



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