Every athlete and coach around the country will have goals for the end of the season. Whether it is winning a conference championship, hitting for a certain average, running a specific time, or averaging a particular amount of points. Some athletes and coaches will develop short term goals that they will examine at certain points in the season to see how they are trending to that goal. However, every emphasize the importance of NOW.
NOW, this very moment, is the only thing that you have. You don't have the past, because it already happened, and you don't have the future, because it hasn't taken place. Ryan Hall, American Record holder in the Half Marathon, says in his book, Running with Joy, that '...the only thing I can control is the present moment.' World-Renowned Mindfulness Instructor Joseph Goldstein teaches that with 'with each breath, there is an opportunity to simply start again.'
When athletes over emphasize results, they get away from the thoughts of being in the now. We start to think about 'what happens if I don't run this time?' 'I need to get this hit,' or 'I have to make this play.' All of this, from questioning ourselves, to using words like need and have all stress the idea of living in the future. Success however does not reside in the future, it rests in the present moment.
This is why understanding and implementing techniques that keep us focused on the present moment is the most important tool that you can implement, even if you don't have the most talent, you can always focus on the moment, which will put you in the greatest position to succeed. Here are three techniques that you can implement to help you do so:
Be Aware of Your Thoughts: The most successful athletes are aware of when they are in the present moment. They understand that when times get tough and the 'pressure' is on, one of the simplest things they can do is keep their thoughts in the NOW.
Focus on Your Breathing: While focusing on the breath, you can block out the past and the future, keeping you in the NOW. Pay attention not just to the breath itself, but to the feel and sound of the breath, helping you relax and bring your attention to the present.
Make Living in the Moment of Part of Your Day: Athletes may sit around waiting to focus on the present moment only when they are practicing or competing. As you may guess, that is not enough time. If you can start to make living in the moment a part of your daily life, not only will it make your play better, but you will be able to make better decisions in your relationships and throughout your day.
Don't just start this the next time you head to practice. Start living in the moment right now. In this moment. It is the only thing that you have.