A few years ago a sentence popped out from the page of Rolf Gates’ book, Meditations from the Mat. It read, “A distracted mind has no power, a directed mind has limitless potential.” I read the sentence, I wrote it in my journal and for the past seven years, I have repeated it every time I train an athlete.
It’s very simple. You become distracted when you start thinking about something other than what you are doing at the moment, whether that you are on a field, in the classroom or in the car. Distraction comes in many forms. You become distracted when you start thinking about the past or the future or when you daydream. You become distracted when you start to doubt or judge yourself. You become distracted whenever you interrupt your mind from staying in the present moment.
Here is the take home point … when you are distracted in any its form, you will be in a weakened mental state. You cannot read this sentence and fully absorb its meaning while thinking about your next vacation. You will most likely not be able to execute a penalty kick or free throw successfully while doubting your abilities. You may get lucky once or twice but champions are crowned by being consistent and mentally focused.
A few years ago, I was watching an NFL playoff game with my daughters, both athletes. The game came down to a field goal attempt with less than a minute to play. As we watched the kicker walk onto the field towards the football, I commented, “He is not going to make the field goal”. My girls questioned how I knew this. I explained that if you looked at his eyes, you see that he is filled with doubt and fear. That he is distracted not directed. Needless to say, he missed the goal and his team lost the game.
Your mind is like a muscle that can be trained to stay directed and focused during key moments of intensity, like a field goal attempt, a free throw or a race. So let’s begin our Verge Yoga Mental Strength Training Program.
Is your mind is always somewhere other than where it should be or continuously filled with fear, doubt and judgment? If so, then you are living and playing from a weakened mental state. For now, my recommendation to you, whether you are a competitive athlete or not, is to start by asking yourself a few times per day, “Am I distracted or am I directed?” You grow stronger every time you catch yourself in a distracted state and are able to bring yourself back into a directed or focused state. It is that easy. Let’s start there…
Stay tuned. Part 2 of this blog, will cover the latter part of Rolf’s sentence, “a directed mind has limitless potential”.
Recommended Reading: Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates