PCA Presents: The Olympic ExperiencePeter Haberl, senior sport psychologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee, teaches mindfulness to the U.S. Olympic team due to the unique distractions present at the Olympic Games.
At all levels, swim meets can have a multitude of distractions that capture your mind and direct your attention away from your races. Maybe the team next to you is playing music loudly or publically displaying team drama. Maybe it is unusually hot or cold outside or the water tastes strange. Perhaps there is a lengthy delay due to technology or lightning and you are forced to re-warm up and be ready at a moment's notice. These scenarios and more can throw you off your game if you let your thoughts ramble or exaggerate the significance of what has happened. The goal of mindfulness is to develop a sense of calm in the midst of the storm.
It is most helpful to cultivate mindfulness long before making the Olympic team or competing in your target meet. Next time you practice, become cognizant of what you are doing the moment you are doing it—your breath, your movement, your thoughts. Be present.
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