Is Meditation Required For Peak Performance?
With so many elite athletes saying that meditation is the key to performing at their highest level, it would be easy to conclude that you HAVE to do it in order to be your best.
The problem is, most people can’t.
So, what to do? Does that mean they will never reach their full potential?
The short answer is no, they absolutely can.
And that’s what I talk about in this week’s post—how athletes can get the benefits of meditation without doing a minute of sitting.
- Why meditation doesn’t work for most people
- The critical difference between meditation and mindfulness
- The one inner skill that IS required for peak performance
- Listen/read to get the full message
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[ transcript ]
More and more you hear pro athletes talk about how meditation has been essential to playing at their highest level. Kobe, LeBron, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo. It seems like EVERYONE is doing it.
And it makes sense. Meditation can be hugely helpful in boosting your focus, reducing your stress, and giving you the extra edge you need as an athlete.
I’m David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game, founder of Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy. And here is the problem with this meditation idea:
Most people can’t do it.
Either they’re not interested in the first place (too weird, too woo-woo, whatever).
Or if they are interested, they can’t stick with it. For one reason or another, they just can’t make it work for them.
So, as a coach, what should you tell your athletes? Do they need to meditate to be their best? If they can’t meditate, does that mean they will never play at their highest level?
The short answer is no. They absolutely do not need to meditate to be their best.
Here’s the thing: when people talk about the benefits of meditation, what they’re really talking about are the benefits of mindfulness.
We tend to use meditation and mindfulness interchangeably but they’re actually two very different things.
Mindfulness is simply managing your attention so that you can be fully focused and present rather than off in your thoughts somewhere. (Psychologists call this skill “cognitive control,” the ability to intentionally direct your attention.)
And this sort of mindfulness actually IS essential to being your best. This is what gives players the intense focus that you hear so much about.
Meditation, on the other hand, is a way to practice mindfulness.
But it’s not the only way.
In fact, it’s not even the best way. (The simplest, most direct method is the one we teach in Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy.)
So, yes, athletes absolutely need to develop mindfulness/cognitive control in order to play at their highest level.
But they can do that without ever doing a minute of meditation.
They just need a practical, mechanics-based approach to doing that.
Now, having said that, meditation is still a great idea.
Think of it like weight training. An athlete will gain a certain amount of strength simply from practicing the skills you teach them. Right? They do the drills, they get stronger over time. But if they want to get even stronger than that, and do it more quickly, they will hit the gym.
Meditation is weight training for cognitive control.
So, the take-home message is, if they can do it, they absolutely should. All those elite athletes can’t be wrong.
But if they can’t do it, they don’t need to worry about it. They will get everything they need from working on developing cognitive control instead.
All right, that is it for this post. Is Meditation Required For Peak Performance? The answer is no, but you should if you can. I hope that’s helpful. Please do ask a question or post a comment. Let me know your thoughts and experiences with meditation.
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1) Sports Academy "Workshop Leader” training now available. If you would like to help athletes in your community learn to raise their Inner Game and you’re not working with one particular team, our Workshop Leader Certification Training is perfect for you. CLICK HERE to learn more: https://www.raiseyourinnergame.com/workshop-leader
2) Check out our Podcast
Get blog post audio delivered right to your player, plus receive our weekly Mental Game Monday posts. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/raise-your-inner-game-today-with-david-levin/id1401013964
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