The world of sports is all about going as hard as you can, as long as you can, in an attempt to get to the top of the scoreboards or the top of your team. Athletes are notorious for pushing not only their bodies to the physical limit, but their minds as well. We don’t often associate athletes with relaxation—the sports world is about intensity and reaching the next level. Learning how to relax might not compute with the “go big or go home” mentality. However, for all their drive and endurance, athletes often find using a few relaxation techniques enhances their overall physical and mental performance instead of getting in the way.
Managing Anxiety and Doubts
As with anyone else, even the best athletes in the world are prone to having doubts about their abilities. Athletes face huge obstacles in their chosen field which can flood them with anxiety and doubt. These negative thoughts can occur when an athlete faces an injury, new competition, a huge event, or even just routine practice. For athletes, letting doubt creep in can have serious consequences when it comes to their abilities. Learning to overcome these issues with relaxation techniques is an effective strategy. Certain relaxation techniques such as guided imagery and visualization can help athletes learn how to take their anxious feelings and deal with them in a positive and productive manner.
A major part of any sport is a focus on endurance. It plays a pivotal role in nearly every sport around. For a cyclist or marathon runner, it’s all about making it to the finish line. In soccer, it’s about staying sharp despite running up and down the field for hours on end. Basketball requires endurance to maintain energy even in the very last minutes of the game. Relaxation techniques can give athletes an advantage in outlasting their opponents. With breathing exercises combined with techniques such as self-affirming phrases designed to keep you calm and relaxed, you’ll find an edge in the ability to go that extra mile.
Progressive muscle relaxation is one hidden gem that athletes might find extremely beneficial to their daily routines. This technique involves tensing specific muscles for a few seconds, then letting the tension go. It’s a way to pinpoint where your tension is. A majority of individuals, athletes as well, may not even realize that a certain muscle group is tensed. For example, when you unconsciously let your shoulders relax only to realize they were nearly up to your chin—progressive muscle relaxation is designed to help give you a method to control the tension and detect when certain muscles need a little extra attention.
May you discover how relaxation can enhance your performance and improve your wellbeing.