“Sometimes the solution is as simple as taking a break and focusing on other things until the fog lifts.”
Karen Nimmo, Clinical Psychologist
Athletes aren’t simply born knowing everything they need to know about their sport. It takes practice. It takes your mind receiving information and sending it to your body to learn how to get that direct top corner kick for the game-winning goal, that perfectly aimed throw from third to first for the out, or that perfectly smooth “swish” from the three-point line. The more you practice, the more you get tired, both physically and mentally.
Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers Forward and NBA All-Star, credits the practice of Yoga to clearing his mind, honing his focus, as well as strengthening his body. “Yoga isn’t just about the body. It’s also about the mind and it’s a technique that has really helped me,” he said in an interview. “You do have to focus because there’s some positions that can really hurt you at times if you aren’t focused and breathing right.”
According an article in Sports Illustrated from September 27th, 2016, a tired brain can affect an athlete’s performance just as much as their tired muscles. “Physiologically you may be fine but mentally fatigued athletes find the same task much more effortful,” said Dr. Samuele Marcora, director of research at the Kent School of Sport and Exercises Sciences.
James isn’t the only athlete to take to yoga. The discipline is practiced by several NBA players as well as professional athletes in other sports. Joe Johnson, a seven-time NBA All-Star, said, “It’s therapy for my muscles and my muscles need that more than anything.”
For more about the importance of mental and physical recovery practices, check out these sites:
LeBron James leading the Nike Basketball Academy in yoga on the beach July 29th, 2015, before workouts. (photo by usatoday.com)