Meditation and You
Meditation can be complicated, but it’s simply the practice of breathing or actions done in order to relax. Kicking is a very relaxing practice that could also be seen as a form of meditation. Meditation is not only able to make you a better kicker, but a better person overall. This post will highlight how to increase your patience, calm your nerves, and potentiall become a professional NFL kicker overall.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation comes in many forms; loving kindness, body scan, mindfulness, breath awareness, guided breathing, the list goes on! The important thing is what makes you feel the most at peace. During my college years, I was always battling with overthinking things. Which is quite easy to do when you are balancing this thing called life around. One thing would lead to another and soon enough, my brain would be cluttered with useless thoughts.
When I found out about meditation, I could calm down, think less, and perform better. A common form of meditation is the traditional listen to music or be in silence while breathing slowly. During your session, your goal is mainly to focus on your breathing.
The purpose for this is it brings your attention to a constant rhythm that is automatic. Versus focusing on something difficult like your future, focus on emotions, feelings, or anything that you can actually control. When we do these types of practices, it becomes easy to get focused on the wrong things. Keep things simple and it will become much easier to practice.
There are hundreds of overall methods of meditation that provide benefits, what matters is how it makes you feel. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t help you to over complicate the process. Just take a method and test it out for a week, see how it feels and then you can make an assumption from there. Whatever you do, do it consistently and make your decision based on your experience.
How Does Meditation Apply Towards Kicking?
When kicking, it can be overwhelming to really focus on one thing, or nothing at all when times are tense. Even though we want to rise above the moments of stress, it can be difficult. There is no ultimate solutions to breaking through our own mind. In order to be successful in football, you have to adopt positive habits. Habits that will get you to your destination in the most effective way possible. There is no sense in taking shortcuts. eventually, your conscience will kick in and you will know if you left effort in the tank. There is not many things worse than knowing you left some energy out on the field, at home, in your life.
Being nervous is a completely nervous emotion. If anything, it means that you care about the thing you are doing. If you did not care, why is your heart beating. Whatever the situation, embrace the emotions because they can actually help you become more focused. Knowing how to control them is a skill you will develop by adopting these simple practices. At the end of the day, you have to make sure you keep your nerves in check.
Without balance, our performance will decline as a result. That is where meditation comes in. Meditation can do a few things to help you some are;
- Better focus on the current moment
- Ability to relax more when stressed
- Calm your nerves allowing yourself to become 100% ready for the moment
- You can forget the past faster allowing for quicker recoveries from mistakes
- Controls your emotions promoting positive thoughts when self doubt kicks in
While this is a quick overview of meditations benefits, they all help greatly. Even if you take 5 minutes a day to meditate, over the course of a week, your mood, and overall attitude will be vastly different. Whatever we can do to improve our daily lives, we have to take full advantage of our opportunities now. What we do today will allow us to exponentially grow each time we meditate.
That being said, you do not have to be perfect with these practices. That is the beauty of meditation, even though you are not doing exactly the way it is intended, you are still making progress to become better at it. So when you meditate, most of the common phrases is, “focus on the breath.” While it may be difficult to do in the beginning, by simply acknowledging it, you are already making huge progress.
Wim Hof Meditation
First of all, I am not an expert in any of these topics. I just believe that everyone has a certain method that works for them. Personally, I enjoy the Wim Hof Method which is essentially a focus on breathing. This is done by relaxing, taking 30-40 deep breaths in, and then a 70% exhalation or so. At the end of the set of breaths, you exhale (not fully) and hold that for as long as possible. You typically get into the 2+ minute range within the first few practices.
The benefits of this meditation are higher blood flow, influence of your nervous system, and immune system safety. There are multiple additional benefits but these are the most recognized ones. This form of meditation is quite incredible as you get a tingly sensation since you are tapping into the primitive part of your brain. This is a way to get adrenaline shooting through your body in a form of meditation, pretty dang cool. Through this practice, you are increasing your health, along with your mind.
Wim Hof Records
Wim has many feats, he is able to climb mount Kilimanjaro in just his shorts. According to Wikipedia.com;
“On March 16, 2000, Hof set the Guinness World Record for farthest swim under ice, with a distance of 57.5 metres (188.6 ft). The swim at a lake near Pello, Finland was filmed for a Dutch television program, and a test run the previous day almost ended in disaster when his cornea started to freeze and he was swimming blind. A diver rescued him as he was starting to lose consciousness. A new record of 76.2 metres (250 ft) was set by Stig Severinsen in 2013.
On January 26, 2007, Hof set a world record for fastest half marathon barefoot on ice and snow, with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds.
Wim Hof Records Continued
Hof has set the world record for longest time in direct, full-body contact with ice a total of 16 times, including 1 hour, 42 minutes and 22 seconds on January 23, 2009; 1 hour, 44 minutes in January 2010; and 1 hour 53 minutes and 2 seconds in 2013. This was surpassed in 2014 by Songhao Jin of China, with a time of 1 hour, 53 minutes and 10 seconds.
In 2007 Hof climbed to an altitude of 7,200 metres (23,600 ft) on Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes, but failed to reach the summit due to a recurring foot injury. On February 2009, Hof reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro within two days wearing only shorts. In September, he ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water, under the supervision of Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels.“
Clearly, he is living proof that his methods work unlike anything in history. If he can do these things strictly by using his mediation and cold showers, imagine how greatly that can benefit us on the football field. The opportunities are endless and that is why I love this meditation form, it’s versatile, effective, rather quick, and the benefits keep on giving.
Since our habits shape our daily lives, make it a point to wake up daily and practice a form of meditation to set the tone for the day. It doesn’t have to be Wim Hof, but do something! This way when you begin to kick, your mind is already ready to rock. Our mind is our greatest asset when we are kicking or just in daily life’s activities. That’s why we must take great care of it by being more mindful to ourselves. By continuously forming a habit of meditating, our daily lives improve in small ways.
Eventually, these small wins like not getting mad in traffic, grow into bigger wins like weight loss. Little by little you will see the positive effects of meditation improve your kicks and punts. In one of my earlier posts on field goals, I go over the importance of developing a routine for kicking.
Constantly look for positive routines that better yourself and watch your life’s trajectory soar. You are the product of you environment. Please give yourself the chance to build positive habits that propel you into the life you want.
Another incredible method to be able to handle stress are cold showers. These are an incredible way to decrease anxiety, increase focus, and promote blood flow. The purpose for this is the shower is obviously cold. Therefore, stepping in requires a conscience decision to get in.
Since your brain simply shuts down in order to dial in to whatever chaos you are putting your body through. You are able to go all out on the fist time if you are feeling frisky. When you are in, use this as a chance to focus on your breathing. Each deep breath gets you closer to warmth in the shower.
Cold Showers Continued
If you have trouble adjusting, feel free to start off with a warm shower. As the final 30 seconds of the shower approaches, switch it to the coldest setting. This way, you don’t have to be miserable the whole time, just a portion of it. The next day, make sure to increase the cold time 15 seconds per shower.
By the end of the week, you would have made a 350% increase in your standard. Over the course of time, your tolerance will increase, as a result, that will translate to the working life as well.
Cold Showers Continued
No matter what you do, make sure you are being safe and doing it to the benefit to yourself. DO NOT attempt the meditation technique in a pool, while operating/driving, and please do it in a safe environment. There are so many great things as a result of cold showers, just know, they are only going to help you.
So please make them a part of your daily routine. When you start to utilize the showers, your stress levels will dramatically decrease. Also, if you have trouble sleeping, by utilizing a cold shower, you can get a much better nights sleep.
While I admit, they are not fun at first since they feel as if you might freeze. The benefits of them completely outweigh the lack of comfort. The whole short term pain for long term gain is incredibly necessary during cold showers.
Meditation for Focus
When you use meditation properly, it is one of the greatest weapons for kicking. This is because you have to quiet everything that is going on in the world. By tuning out the outside noise, you give yourself the upper hand for necessary situations where complete focus is needed. You have to listen to your body, and put yourself in a state of pure relaxation.
When you are on the field in a moment of high stress, remembering to breath will help you calm down much faster if you have never done meditation. Your only limitations are within your mind. Once we learn to break from these limitations, we are able to increase our livelihoods. As said earlier, you do not have to be perfect, just be consistent. Consistency beats everything else because over the course of a week, if you get 1% better every day, you make a 365% gain in a year.
Meditation For Focus Continued
This is in relation to who never makes any progression for anything. Now it may be difficult to see how doing something to meditate, take cold showers, or anything else mentioned above could benefit you. Just think of it this way, when you have a routine of personal development, you simply handle situations differently. Small interactions with yourself, and other people, are handled just a little bit off from what you used to prior.
Lastly, if you are struggling with consistency on your swing, meditation will help you stick to it. Side note, with workouts, they also aid in developing the mind. Now, you’re looking for other ways to increase your consistency, check out my last post on consistency. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share this so we can continue to grow! Also, if you have any suggestions for what we should write about next, let us know!
Thanks for reading and stay amazing!