A lot of people are into sports these days, whether they engage in sports themselves or watch their favorite athletes compete against other athletes. Our society loves sports. Most of the time, we try to understand how our favorite sports work. What we fail to understand or realize is the connection between the mind and the body when it comes to sports.
Sports is more than just the physical body. When you are involved in sports, you don’t only condition your body. You also have to condition your mind. The mind and body work hand in hand. There are still a lot to be discovered about sports but one thing is for sure. The athletic performance of a person depends on his or her mental state. Whatever goes on in your brain has a big impact on your physical performance and your physical performance also affects your brain.
Sports psychology shows the interaction between sport performance and psychology which includes psychological aspects of optimal athletic performance, the connection between psychological and physical functioning, and the psychological wellbeing and care of athletes, their coaches, and sport clubs or organizations.
Have you ever tried going for a run in the morning after drinking a lot of liquor the night before and after having little sleep? Were you able to run at your normal pace without feeling tired, feeling irregular heartbeats, or any other problems? Have you also tried joining a basketball game even if you were in trouble and had a lot of worries in your mind? Were you able to play well despite that circumstance? Do you also wonder why even the best athletes have days where they aren’t performing well or aren’t scoring at all despite their training and despite how skilled they are in their sport? All of these questions can be simply answered by the connection of the mind and the body. The athletic performance relies heavily on a person’s mental state. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep or has a lot of worries in mind, the he or she cannot perform well physically.
Sports aren’t always physical. There are some games that are considered as sports even if they don’t involve the physical body such as chess, poker, card games and more. They are called mind sports. Mind sport is a game of skill where the players compete based on their intellectual ability as opposed to physical exercise. To prove that the mind and body work hand in hand, mind sports athletes or players are also required to have a healthy lifestyle and to be physically fit whenever joining tournaments. This is because the mind doesn’t function well if the body isn’t functioning well. They work hand in hand that’s why all athletes no matter what kind of sports they are playing, should always maintain a healthy mind and a healthy body.
Training the Brain with the Body
For many athletes, it is easier to concentrate on the physical aspect of training in their specific sports and dedicating their time and effort in reaching their maximum potential. What they don’t realize is that it’s also important to train the mind alongside their body in order to succeed.
Whether you are an athlete or not, if you are engaged in any sports, it’s important for you to give importance and put a lot of effort in also training your brain while you train your physical body. The other way goes around if you are someone who engages in mind sports. You can enhance your performance if you learn how to train both your brain and your body.
- Always think positive
Being worried, stressed, and having negative thoughts can gravely affect one’s athletic performance. Getting a little stressed about an upcoming game or tournament can give you a push to work harder on your goal but if you are constantly stressed, it’s not good for you. If you constantly have negative thoughts and have a fear of failure, they can be roadblocks to your success.
It’s important to always think positive even if you are going through something. One way of doing this is by including mind activities such as meditation and yoga into your daily routine. It can help you stay positive and keep things balanced. While engaging yourself in these kinds of activities, you are able to clear your mind and learn how to realign your thoughts. This can boost your athletic performance.
If you are able to realign your thoughts with such practice, then it will be easy for you to respond to anxiety and stress.
- Be attentive to your body
Another important aspect in training the mind and body is by paying attention to what the body is doing and what it is telling you.
Whenever you are stressed or anxious, some of your body parts may be tensed as a reaction to your stress. Keep in mind how your body reacts according to your thoughts. It is only you who can control how your mind and body work. Once you are mindful of your body’s reaction to certain thoughts, then you can learn how to respond or control your body’s reaction when faced in such circumstances.
Another important thing about knowing what your body is telling you is that you should know your body’s limits. If your body tells you to slow down, then you should do so even if your coach or other people are putting a lot of pressure on you but if you know that you can still push yourself a little harder, then you are free to do so. After all, it’s only you who knows your body.
Success in sports depends heavily on inter-related behavioral and cognitive aspects. On the mental side, factors such as the confidence of an athlete that he or she develops in his or her abilities, how he or she thinks, where he or she focuses his or her attention on, and his or her reaction towards failure, frustration, and stress contribute to the level of success in sports that the athlete will attain. As for the physical aspect, how an athlete is able to control his or her anxiety and turning the energy that he or she has into a positive energy contributes a lot to the athletes success. Athletes who are able to be productive and think positive at the same time and are also able to use behavioral techniques such as deep breathing are the ones who are most likely to succeed in sports.
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