Category: Mindfulness

Meditation as Choking Prevention

This blog post is Part 4 of a 4-part blog series featuring the work of University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock. Even a small chunk of meditation practice goes a long way, says Sian Beilock, Ph.D., in a recent interview on the website Brain Science Podcast. At the University of Chicago’s Human Performance Lab, psychologist Sian Beilock has found that simple meditation instruction helps people perform better under pressure. In the lab, people underwent a mere 10 minutes of meditation instruction before taking a test. This appeared to make a significant “difference in their score.” Beilock quotes research th...

Playing in the Present Moment

We bring every past moment to the present moment. This is both good and bad. Thankfully, we carry all of our hard work: Every game we have played and each step of the training and practice. We also take the last mistake we made, such as a swing at a bad pitch or the pass you just dropped. This is why playing in this exact moment is vital. We need to let go of the mistakes while focusing on the positive stuff. Of course, this isn’t an automatic occurrence, this learning how to be here right now. Luckily, we can learn how to play this way. Authors Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson give us concrete steps to reach this goal in the book Head-Ups Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time. The first step on this path is self-awareness: “being aware of what is happening and then respond to it.” Think of this as a traffic light. When your body is in the green, you are playing in the zone. You are playing well with no need to think. When your body is in the yellow, you are startin...

Being Right versus Being Happy

There is a human phenomenon which social psychology uncovered that states “people prefer to be right than to be happy.” What does this have to do with sport psychology? The answer is everything. A majority of people and athletes hold strong beliefs about themselves and their capabilities. And for most, they may experience some degree of self-doubt at times. If an athlete allows this doubt to become habitual, convincing, and perhaps even “grooved” in their brain (repeated thoughts of doubt over and over again so that the brain is trained to think that way), then he or she will start to believe that they are incapable and not good enough to be successful. Once an athlete believes the doubt to be truth, they will begin to look for evidence to support and confirm this belief, even though holding the belief makes them feel unhappy. That’s “right”. When the athlete begins to believe that they may not be good enough, they will tend to filter out any information that counters t...