For athletes, remaining in prime physical shape does not simply encompass eating well and spending hours in rigorous training. Instead, there are many underlying contributors to athletic success that are often overlooked, with the greatest being one’s mental capacities and wellbeing.

On average, many coaches believe the work their teams perform is approximately 50 percent mental, and even as high as 80 to 90 percent in certain situations. Therefore, a strong awareness of one’s body and how it relates to the present moment is absolutely critical to each sport.

While there are countless ways one could attempt to strengthen such a sense, the most effective method is, without a doubt, meditation. After all, adopting this routine not only encourages one to quiet their mind and prepare for the physical task at hand, it also enables them to hone their internal resources to boost their level of motivation and willingness to execute difficult plays and strategies.

With that in mind, let us examine how you can integrate mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine.

Ditch all preconceptions

To be completely clear, meditation is not locking yourself in a dark room and sitting on the floor with your eyes closed for hours on end. Instead, it offers a unique opportunity to find peace and encourage heightened awareness. Therefore, you can meditate just about anywhere at any time, though it is still recommended your location of choice does not pose any distractions.

Perhaps, then, you ought to try exploring your own hometown to find your optimal spot. Follow a new hiking trail, find a secluded area in your local park, take a walk along the beach, or simply spend time in your backyard — it is all about where you feel the most at peace.

Balance your beliefs

As mentioned previously, meditation is not a tactic used to clearing your mind, but a method of finding a clear connection between your physical and mental abilities. To effectively do so, you ought to use meditation and mindfulness to break free of your negative opinions of yourself.

Visualize yourself achieving athletic success — winning that trophy or finishing that marathon. Once you see yourself reaching that goal, you will not only build positive reinforcement, but create the optimal conditions you need to succeed now and in the future.

Keep your spirit

In sports, it is all too easy to get caught up in the competition and view your opponents as nothing more than a roadblock to your triumph. By practicing mindfulness, you are equipping yourself with the tools you need to realign your focus and rediscover your love for the camaraderie and intensity of athletics, rather than obsessing over the victory itself.