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Mindfulness for Athletes: The Secret to Better Performance?

Whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite athlete, there is no doubt that performance is a mix of physical skill and mental focus. There is a debate about the exact percentage needed for success (is it 90% mental, 10% physical, or the reverse), and many athletes spend the majority of their time and effort on the physical and technical training, leaving little time for focusing on their mental game.

While sports psychologists have been around for ages, more and more athletes are recognizing the benefits of integrating their physical pursuits with their mindfulness training. By learning to focus on their breathing, posture, movement quality and exercise intention, athletes are really starting to understand the mind-body connection to support their sports conditioning training and enhance their overall performance.

As the Leaders in Mindful Movement™ we have believed, for over 25 years, that the body and mind are interconnected in everything that we do. Mindful forms of exercise help to reduce stress and bring a calmer state of mind through precise, controlled forms of movement and focus on breath.

All of our fitness programs teach participants to be more aware of how the body is moving through an exercise, with particular focus on perfect movement execution and biomechanics. We emphasize the importance of noticing what is happening in the rest of the body when one area is targeted – like watching spinal alignment when working the glutes, or focusing on the placement of the rib cage when performing overhead lifts. It also means putting a focus on working the deeper stabilizing muscles, not only in the torso, but at each joint, instead of just targeting the ‘mirror muscles’. This awareness of how the body moves and functions will allow athletes to “get into the zone”.

If you’re a Pilates practitioner looking to expand your knowledge and exercise repertoire to work with athletes, learn more about our STOTT PILATES® Athletic Conditioning Specialty Track.

If you’re an Athletic Trainer, Strength Coach, Personal Trainer, or Pilates Practitioner looking to add a new offering to your practice, learn more about our CORE™ Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training™ education program.

Focus, awareness, clarity of thought, and the ability to stay in the present moment are basic skills for any great athlete. Learning how to incorporate these athletic and performance based mindful movement strategies into your own athletic endeavours or a client’s program will allow participants to optimize their training and maximize their results.

Sounds like the secret to better performance to us.