This year's Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey, but it looks as if the Seattle Seahawks will have the "ohm" team advantage, as head coach Pete Carroll encourages all his players to meditate daily.
"Coach Carroll combines old-school values with a real appreciation for the science of psychology," said Michael Gervais, a high-performance sports psychologist who has been the team's consultant since 2012. "He recognizes that quality of thought readily translates into quality of movement."
While Carroll hasn't made meditation mandatory, he promotes it and about 20 players participate voluntarily, meditating several times a week, Gervais said. The team also incorporates yoga into its regular strength-training sessions.
Players new to meditation start off with six minutes of deep breathing, Gervais explained. As they gain more experience, they devote longer periods of time to the practice. Gervais said this demonstrated the tremendous tolerance they have for taking on extended tasks that can often be boring or difficult.
"That grit is a characteristic that helps them to get closer to their full potential on and off the field," he said.
While football is obviously an intensely physical sport, mental muscles also flex pretty hard during a game. Learning to slow down and calm down is so important, Gervais said, because it teaches players to fine-tune their focus, attention and attitude. This leads to what Gervais described as a more mindful approach to the game.
"Simply put, mindfulness occurs when you become more aware of your thoughts," he explained. (MORE)
Source: ABC News