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Listening and Being in the Moment

Have you ever heard the phrase “being in the moment”. If you ever experienced this, it is a phenomenal feeling. It is a blissful feeling of effortless reaction and simplicity. I believe that “being in the moment” is created by that certain connection of skill, practice, muscle memory and focus that all come together at the same time. Like the perfect storm, these variables are acting in harmony with each other and come to create that sense of simplicity with the athlete and her performance.

It is of utmost importance to listen to your body, mind and spirit when performing in athletics. In softball, listening to these three variables creates that sense of understanding necessary to perform and achieve success. Proper breathing and thought process, when controlled, can create that positive influence on the athlete’s mind and body to create that harmonious relationship working together to achieve the result at hand.

There are internal forces in the athlete, both positive and negative, that push and pull.  This usually occurs most frequently during stress. Stress is an inevitable force that players confront when competing. How the athlete positions herself during that stressful time has a direct correlation to how the athlete manages her breathing. By channeling that negative stress component and learning how to switch and harness the positive energy, the athlete can confront the situation and deal with it productively. In order to accomplish this goal, however, it is important for the athlete to relinquish her analytical mind and embrace her instinctual training and talent.  Once this occurs, the athlete becomes “in the moment” and the natural performance of the athlete’s ability takes over to achieve a greater result.

This requires consistent training not only through the physical and analytical process, but rather by the spiritual and breathing aspect of understanding your mind and body. Channeling this energy creates a positive result which manifestly embraces the team and everyone around the athlete. When an athlete takes her time to allow herself to own the moment by being in the moment, she has developed the necessary skills to succeed at her desired action under heightened circumstances.

For a pitcher this point of trusting the instinctual and abandoning the analytical occurs through blind fold drills. For the hitter, this point occurs when the batter clears her mind of the thought of the pitcher and instead focuses purely on her breathing and trusting in her instincts.

Only through devoted ritualistic practice can the athlete acquire the skills set to truly be in the moment. Once this occurs, however, the athlete is on her way to consistency, balance and deliberate focus.

As an example, some batters think as the pitchers is throwing “keep my hands back”, etc. By relaying these kinds of messages to the mind over and over, the athlete actually minimizes the quickness necessary and available from within her swing.

Truly being in the moment is not thinking at all. It is purely instinctual reaction that occurs through repetition and practice. The body and mind become one with the athlete and her performance. The goal of the batter becomes to completely turn off the analytical mind and simply enjoy the moment through acute listening of the body with deliberate breathing techniques. By not thinking the batter’s trigger mechanisms become quicker and more accurate.

To truly be in the moment and experience that feeling look to release the analytical mind and trust the instinctual progression grown from your practice.

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