They say no man is an island and that’s definitely true for anyone who plays a team sport. Yes, I know they say you can put Lebron with anyone and he can win a championship, but I’m not so sure that’s true, and how many of us are Lebrons anyway?
The key to a great team is teamwork and that’s as true for the mental game as it is the physical. They’ve known as far back as 2001 how moods within a team can spread. A study done at the University of Sheffield showed that there was a connection between a person’s mood, their team’s mood, and their performance.
Rather than got mired in the data from a psychological study, I’ll break it down. Basically your mood has the power to make or break your team. Is your team in a great mood? You might be more inclined to do well than when you’re all down in the dumps. Having one teammate out of whack has the power to spread that mood to the rest of the lineup. A teammate gets frustrated, botches a play, and then other teammates get frustrated they botched a play and the dominoes begin to fall.
This means you need to not only practice mindfulness yourself but encourage your teammates to take up the practice as well. During a tournament if your team takes a loss hard and doesn’t shake it before your next game you’re hurting yourselves before you even begin. Find ways to work as a group to focus on the present and shake free of the events of the past and expectations for the future.
Meditation and mindfulness can be practiced easily as a group as long as everyone takes the practice seriously and stays focused. Try having your team captain lead you through a mindfulness exercise similar to some of the ones #MindfulnessMonday has shared in the past. When you get together to do stretches or warm-ups don’t forget to wake up your mental game as well. Staying in the moment, not just for yourself, but also for your team can have an impact when it comes to game day.