Meditation for Athletes – How to Use Meditation to Achieve Your Goals

The Brain and Athletic Performance

Using principles of meditation and visualization, an athlete will achieve his or her goals faster and with less effort through what is known as neural plasticity. Neural plasticity is a term used in neuroscience to describe the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways and increase the rate of communication between brain neurons. Using practical application of this known phenomena of the mind in conjunction with an athletic meditative practice athletic performance is oftentimes improved.

Numerous studies have been done on athletes using sophisticated EEG and muscular equipment in order to study the brain’s connection with muscle tissue. Some have gone even further and have studied what happens within the brain and body during athletic visualization exercises. Their findings have shown that while in meditation and visualizing an athletic performance, the brain still sends real impulses to the muscles and organs as if it were actually in the event.

Being Present for the Practice

Runners would be told to visualize a race. Football players were told to visualize making the winning catch. Tennis players would serve a shutout match. In each study, it was shown that during visualization the brain makes physical connections with the muscles used in performing the action. Through repeated visualization and neural activation within the needed muscle groups, the brain learned to respond faster to these events during real athletic performances.

Studies also displayed that the mind sends signals to prepare the muscles for use up to 3 milliseconds before the muscles were to be used. With training, an individual can use these same principles to achieve faster muscle contraction and performance up to 3 milliseconds than competitors. In sports, even the smallest amount of time can mean winning the game or crossing the finish line first.

Focus on Your Purpose for Winning, Then Visualize.

Meditation for sports performance is the same as most standard goal setting and visualization techniques with the exception of the focus on physical presence during visualization. For athletes using meditation to achieve their goals, the vision of the performance in their mind should be set with the purpose of winning.

Next, visualize and let your mind show you what it does to help you through each moment of the athletic performance. Practice the event as if you were truly in the moment with complete presence. This technique allows you to practice mentally, even when your body is tired from physical practice. For some, this could produce the needed edge.

What is your purpose for winning or gaining the edge? Be as precise and as meaningful as possible. Why do you REALLY want to win? Do you wish to have the feeling of victory? Do you desire the fame of being a popular athlete? Do you want to be paid for your athletic talents?

Your purpose must be strong enough to make you desire the goal intently. Your purpose must engage you, and it must be related towards your personal growth and your desires. You must do it for you, and not for your coach, teammates, or fans. Although teamwork and a great deal of cooperation is always required, the most powerful goals will be the ones that activate your inner soul.

Set the Goal. Meditate. Visualize. Succeed.

With the same principles that professional athletes use to win games and develop athletic skills, any person can practice these techniques. Although some may be born with more natural ability, we all have the ability to go within our minds to achieve things that may seem impossible.

Once you set a strong athletic goal and begin to meditate on its achievement and stick to the plan magic can happen. Once you learn to relax, meditate, and mentally picture yourself winning and performing at your best you will see an increase in peak performance.

This is not magic or myth. This is not gossip. This is simply the neuroscience behind the brain’s ability to grow and to learn new things. This is one of the ways that you can train your brain through meditation to make you a better athlete. Winning truly does begin within the mind.