Article Outsourced from: HuffinghtonPost.com/Lifestyle
It's commonly said that sports are 90 percent mental and only 10 percent physical. A lack of focus can result in a missed three-point shot, nerves can cause a gymnast to fall out of her landing, and a momentary lapse in confidence can easily make the difference between gold and bronze. So it's no surprise that some of the best professional athletes in the sports world are turning to meditation -- which has been shown to reduce stress and improve focus -- to boost their game and ease the anxiety of high-pressure performances. READ MORE >>
Athletic greats Joe Namath, Barry Zito and Arthur Ashe have spoken out about the benefits of meditation as a tool for athletic success. And even entire teams have been turning to visualization and mindfulness practices.
Click through the slideshow below for seven professional athletes (and one college basketball team) who meditate to improve their game.
In 2009, Lakers shooting guard and NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant told Conan O'Brien that he meditated with the team, led by coach Phil Jackson, before big games. "[Jackson] said, 'You're a frog on a lily pad...' I'm not making this stuff up," Bryant said.
Miami Heat star LeBron James practices yoga to improve his performance -- and maybe meditation, too. A video of James seemingly meditating during a time out made its way to YouTube last year.
Sports psychologist and meditation teacher George Mumford worked extensively with the Chicago Bulls while Jordan was the team's star player, helping them to sharpen focus through a regular meditation practice. "When we are in the moment and absorbed with the activity, we play our best," Mumford toldMindful magazine. "That happens once and awhile, but it happens more often if we learn how to be more mindful."
Derek JeterIn a piece published by Grantland in October 2012, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter described aone-hour solo morning meditation as being part of his day-off routine.
Misty May-Trainor & Kerri Walsh
Olympic gold medal-winning volleyball players Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh have enlisted the help of sports psychologist Michael Gervais to maintain high performance under pressure, Outside reported. Gervais helps the volleyball champs stay mentally sharp through meditation, yoga and visualization.
Former Miami Dolphins runningback Ricky Williams has said that he used to meditate every day and before each game. The NFL star even went on to teach a class on meditation at Florida's Nova Southeastern University. "This is my passion," Williams told NBC Miami. "I think a lot of people are so used to being stressed, they don't realize they're stressed. And I was one of those people."
Michigan Basketball Team
To help his team get back on their feet after slumps and stay focused on the game, University of Michigan coach John Beilein looks to visualization practices and meditation. "We [meditate] throughout the year, and we try to teach them some things about how to relax,"Beilein told AnnArbor.com last year. "A lot of athletes use it, and it's important if they're going to see themselves in positive [situations]."