Stop Losing To Your Emotions

Frustrated Tennis player

The emotional battle in sports is one of the most challenging events among athletes. Here, athletes are up against their opponent and team and also themselves. One emotional struggle that many athletes experience is the struggle with worry. The act of worry divides an athlete's full focus from the present task, therefore, depleting their focus in performance and their productivity outside of it. In fact, worry is such a strong emotion that it is also responsible for robbing many from experiencing enjoyment in their daily lives outside of sport.

One skill we work a lot on at SPMI is teaching athletes how to develop a skill called stillness. Stillness is the ability for an athlete to be in the present at such a high level that their senses become more heightened to present sensations around them, such as the sound of a clock ticking or the smell of a distant perfume.

Stillness is a critical skill for all athletes because it means that they are 100% focused in the present moment. In order to achieve stillness, the athlete must be able to detach him or herself from the worrying mind.

Think back to a time when you looked forward to a future event such as going to a concert of your favorite band or artist. You couldn't wait to see him or her perform and get lost in the music.

During the concert were you able to allow yourself to let go of everything you were wrestling within your mind and just enjoy the music or were you still struggling with thoughts about the future or past? If you were struggling with any thoughts such as things you needed to get done the next day or when the artist was going to play a song you liked than you were not absorbed in the music, you were instead watching the concert.

Watching is defined as physically being present at the concert but mentally being in another place. Instead, you want to experience the concert by simply observing it. Observing is stillness! It means that you are able to let go of all thinking and instead experience presence and awareness of your surroundings.  

This same struggle happens to athletes all the time during competition. Physically, athletes are able to be present while competing but mentally athletes are wrestling with future worries and past frustration.

One way athletes can begin to experience stillness is by simply focusing on their breath. The breath is a great starting point because it is always present (unless you're no longer alive!). By focusing on your breath and nothing else you will start to notice your mind quiet more and more until you become more aware of the sounds and sensations around you. This is when you are ready to take on bigger challenges with full focus and commitment.

To master your mental game through learning the entire method of achieving stillness and more contact SPMI and get started today.