Ever try meditation to improve your game?

I’ve tried using meditation in general to get the ability to better focus on tasks, but this recent tennis.com article got me thinking - have any of you specifically used meditation for tennis? Or would you be willing to try it? What challenges have you encountered?

Hands down, the biggest challenges for me involve finding a place to meditate comfortably, and to keep my focus.

“Meditation is essentially about being in the moment,” says Jim Loehr, Ed.D., author of The Power of Full Engagement (Free Press, 2004) and a performance psychologist who has worked with dozens of elite tennis players, including Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Here are two of the simple meditation exercises he recommends for his athlete clients.

1. Lying in bed, take a deep breath and extend the exhalation for as long as you can. On the exhalation say, “One,” in your head and visualize the number one. On the next exhale, say and visualize “two,” and so on. “You may get to 40 or 65 and then get distracted, so you have to start again,” says Loehr, “but the whole point is just to learn what it is to be totally removed from distractions.” It’s a skill, he says, that will help you on the tennis court, and when you play other sports, but also in life.

2. Inhale to a count of four, pause briefly, then exhale on a count of four. “You become one with your breathing,” Loehr says, “you get into a rhythm that just takes over.” What you learn is how it feels to be totally engaged in one thing: breathing. Tennis.com

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