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D4Life

Mindfulness and the mental game

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The pali term for 'sati' has been translated as mindfulness and also 'remembering' - remembering your object of attention that can be experienced in the moment. Be it breath, mantra, body sensations or whatever. You pay attention to breath, the mind drifts into thought, it comes back and you remember to focus on the breath again.

The focus of attention is a means to an end though. To continually focus on the breath after waking up from mindless automatic thought is to retrain the mind to habitually drift away less and less ie spend a month meditating and your mind drifts away less than it did a month earlier. That translates to being able to come back to the moment and not drift away into a stream of negative thoughts and defeatist idea's more often. Its also going to allow you to wake up and recall coaching instructions at a quicker pace. The Tiger article said they helped each other, so one attentive person who is recalling tactics in the heat of battle can remind others, so youve got a network of attentive players. 

Of couse, even without meditation, people can have far better memory recall than others. Players with natural leadership abilities or players that seem like they're a class above others, may often spend a lot of time studying or focussing on their tasks and taking it very seriously so they have that attentive ability in games and can instruct others around them. Luke Hodge springs to mind.

People might call meditation 'woo' and 'spiritual', but i think thats just a misunderstanding brought on by the vagueness of the word - I prefer to strip it down to the task of 'remembering' something. Being mindful of a task

Edited by Deeprived Childhood
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2 hours ago, Skuit said:

Mindfulness isn't a catchall for meditation. But I believe both can be beneficial for everyday life. How these practices would translate to a football-field though, especially on game-day in the thick of action, is always going to be tenuous or unquantifiable (although, again, I think they would be of some benefit).

There are a few paradoxes at play in terms of mindfulness and professional football - was Goodwin's favourite phrase toward the end of the year - that it only matters where you sit on the ladder after round 23 - mindful or unmindful? Is his disregard for our past hurtful or helpful? These are broad strokes of course.

More acutely, does living in the moment produce some calm approach to your actions in play, or does it deflect from the singular goal of winning and only caring about such? And where would the correct balance lay?

 

Great post Skiut. It is difficult & subjective to measure and hence will probably only be of use to the individual who was interested and might find they would benefit. Much like someone who seeks out counselling/coaching as opposed to a person who is ordered or 'forced to seek counselling. The one who seeks it out generally has taken responsibility for there actions/behaviours and generally is willing to open up and grow. Where as in my experience those who attend who blame the world for there drama seldom change in their demeanour or attitude.
 
The handful of younger teens that I have taught that use an active form of 'sense based in the moment reminders' have concluded they have only found benefit when they make a mistake or fumble. Generally they responded that the present moment reminder assists greatly in reducing their negative self talk/ embarrassment on the field after such moments.
Personally the most rewarding aspect is the generally happier & enthusiastic manner that they articulate their last game of footy as opposed to the weight of the world on my shoulders/I'm not good enough attitude when I first met them.
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On 07/11/2017 at 10:11 PM, Lord Ivanhoe said:

It is said that Footy like many sports is a  game  'played between the ears'.

Those of you here that disparage Mindfulness obviously have no idea what it is. So you build up the body in the gym, build up fitness on the track but you dont need to exercise the mind?

The ability to focus, reduce negative self talk, improve self belief and most importantly let go of the past are all positive mental habits that can result from mindfulness.

Some of you might call this mental toughness.

PS Thanks for the post D4L

 

Sometimes you need to switch off in order to calibrate, and to assess the strength of your opponent. Witness Floyd Mayweather, and Carlton in the '70 grand final. You can't be 'mindful' the whole game it's just a buzzword.

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10 minutes ago, bush demon said:

Sometimes you need to switch off in order to calibrate, and to assess the strength of your opponent. Witness Floyd Mayweather, and Carlton in the '70 grand final. You can't be 'mindful' the whole game it's just a buzzword.

I don't think the intention is to create 22 meditation masters who never stop being mindful or aware during a game. It's to have 22 players who have less of a tendency to drift away into negative self talk or to lose focus on key instructions that pertain to their role, than they did before. Of course, a large amount of the game will be decided by instinctive reactions, athleticism, strength which are covered in physical training and specific positional (fwd,mid/def/ruck) coaching.

Edited by Deeprived Childhood
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2 hours ago, Deeprived Childhood said:

The pali term for 'sati' has been translated as mindfulness and also 'remembering' - remembering your object of attention that can be experienced in the moment. Be it breath, mantra, body sensations or whatever. You pay attention to breath, the mind drifts into thought, it comes back and you remember to focus on the breath again.

The focus of attention is a means to an end though. To continually focus on the breath after waking up from mindless automatic thought is to retrain the mind to habitually drift away less and less ie spend a month meditating and your mind drifts away less than it did a month earlier. That translates to being able to come back to the moment and not drift away into a stream of negative thoughts and defeatist idea's more often. Its also going to allow you to wake up and recall coaching instructions at a quicker pace. The Tiger article said they helped each other, so one attentive person who is recalling tactics in the heat of battle can remind others, so youve got a network of attentive players. 

Of couse, even without meditation, people can have far better memory recall than others. Players with natural leadership abilities or players that seem like they're a class above others, may often spend a lot of time studying or focussing on their tasks and taking it very seriously so they have that attentive ability in games and can instruct others around them. Luke Hodge springs to mind.

People might call meditation 'woo' and 'spiritual', but i think thats just a misunderstanding brought on by the vagueness of the word - I prefer to strip it down to the task of 'remembering' something. Being mindful of a task

Thanks for articulating this so well DC. It is interesting that surgeons and judges who I have met in the course of my employment display the same calm measured approach as many who meditate frequently. Hence, is the natural ability to maintain focus an essential or innate quality in good leaders/role models? To many of us not gifted with these traits some of the points mentioned so far could assist keeping focus especially in challenging situations.

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On 09/11/2017 at 12:11 PM, Lord Ivanhoe said:

The most important initial aspect is to learn to be aware that there is a difference between ‘me’ & ‘my mind’.

Like McQueen, feel free to ask any questions

Could you expand on that please?

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Sure W45. Firstly, I appreciate there are many alternate perspectives/theories.

In my experience one way of explaining this could be:

1) You can observe your mind thinking

2) The mind is a tool that when trained it thinks and acts when it asked it to think

3) Most of us let the mind do as it pleases so in some ways are a slave to the mind. This is what the term Monkey Mind relates to

4) The real you is that which observes the mind

5) Meditation can assist to quieten a mind that just goes on incessantly by focusing it on a word(mantra), the breath, the senses

Eg If you are a stage coach driver, the horses are the mind. If you don’t hold onto the reins the horses will go where they like. Usually all over the place and namely on well worn tracks that most 7.2Billion humans repeatedly & habitually think(most of it not useful). Every time you use a tool to focus the mind you are grabbing the reins and steering the mind where you need it to go.

Many experience a freedom and less unhappiness by focussing the mind in this way.

Note most of us think we are the thinking. Once again this is one of many points of view and some posters may articulate it more simply.

Edited by Lord Ivanhoe
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20 hours ago, Lord Ivanhoe said:
The handful of younger teens that I have taught that use an active form of 'sense based in the moment reminders' have concluded they have only found benefit when they make a mistake or fumble. Generally they responded that the present moment reminder assists greatly in reducing their negative self talk/ embarrassment on the field after such moments.
 

This is where I was headed in my next paragraph but thought I'd leave the floor open. I do however believe that a good coach can instill this same sense in a player or squad, and I do think Goodwin is a very good coach. But there is certainly no harm in using the technique of mindfulness in conjunction with other methods of positive reinforcement.

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On 11/6/2017 at 8:50 AM, D4Life said:

Reading about the Tigers focus on mindfulness on the weekend, will the Demons take this on, as poor starts and switching off during games, seemed to be our greatest issues this year.

Richmond rectified some weaknesses in their list and brought in Nankervis, Caddy and Prestia. They were also able to get improvement out of Lambert, Vlastuin and improve their depth. I don't think it was down to mindfulness but more down to shrewd list management.

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A mindful backman has just intercepted a forward thrust from the opposition, has skilfully passed the ball quickly to a running teammate and surveys the progress of the ball whilst picking up his opponent. Blissful is he who has initiated a chain of promise that led to a goal scored from his instigation. 

Fairly similar for a midfielder ... very similar for a forward. Both of these are of a lesser duration; but, the vibe is stronger and so they must attempt to set the patterns again, and again, and again to play winning football.

And then, they think as one to do it again, and again, and again. A win results. 

Simple? Or do I need psychoanalytics .... 

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7 hours ago, KingDingAling said:

Richmond rectified some weaknesses in their list and brought in Nankervis, Caddy and Prestia. They were also able to get improvement out of Lambert, Vlastuin and improve their depth. I don't think it was down to mindfulness but more down to shrewd list management.

Fair enough KDA. I am obviously in the pro meditation camp.

Game styles, List management, Coaches, players, Luck with injuries, The draw. etc so many variables. The1%'s are the difference. Depending on the individual, mind strengthening tools whatever they may be that assist in keeping focus or to refocus could be the additional 1%er that takes a player to the next step.

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On 09/11/2017 at 5:55 PM, Little Goffy said:

Um... 'first to introduce the term neuroplasticity'... by about -50 years.

I've got no problem really with people re-packaging science into digestible material which is useful for informing anyone, but it is mildly annoying when there's a pretense that the work is original, instead of recognising that it is a handy synopsis of literally decades of research, debate, peer review and adjustment.

Y'know, all those 'dry' books by people with only 'book knowledge' and not the marketing nous that makes any particular brand of mindfulness a success...

Mindfulness is useful and there's value in any exercise or routine which helps people to be aware of what is going on in their own mind and why they feel the way they do, and to be aware that they can deliberately influence those reactions. Thank you, science.

Actually you may want to thank the yogis who for over 5000 years have been practising such techniques. Science simply proved what they knew long ago

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The Samurai adopted Zen to make them better warriors so the same principles could be applied to football.

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On 13/11/2017 at 6:06 AM, Deemania since 56 said:

A mindful backman has just intercepted a forward thrust from the opposition, has skilfully passed the ball quickly to a running teammate and surveys the progress of the ball whilst picking up his opponent. Blissful is he who has initiated a chain of promise that led to a goal scored from his instigation. 

Fairly similar for a midfielder ... very similar for a forward. Both of these are of a lesser duration; but, the vibe is stronger and so they must attempt to set the patterns again, and again, and again to play winning football.

And then, they think as one to do it again, and again, and again. A win results. 

Simple? Or do I need psychoanalytics .... 

The Dalai Lever

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On 11/9/2017 at 1:51 PM, Lord Ivanhoe said:

After many years of exploring the more traditional esoteric mind calming traditions I have personally have enjoyed & followed Dr Joe Dispenza.

His initial book ‘Evolve your Brain’ was the first to introduce the term neuroplasticity(The brains' ability to re-organise itself). Many dry books have been since written by many who have a book knowledge not practical experience of meditation & neuroplasticity. This is why I feel Emma Murphy has had such success at Richmond. (ie Would anyone have thought that Dustin Martin would have ever embraced mindfulness??)

Dispenza’s following books ‘Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself’ and “You are the Placebo’ are also excellent.

 

Purchased the Kindle version today. Nearly all of his 'books' reviews measure up as very highly regarded so I'm keen to get stuck into it.

I do however have two more episodes on Westworld to consume prior to this which, as a matter of coincidence, may be a rather apt prelude to the book.

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10 hours ago, Emerald said:

The Samurai adopted Zen to make them better warriors so the same principles could be applied to football.

So if AFLHQ introduce sword-fights to replace the centre-bounce we should be right.

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From the Dees Podcast Facebook page -Gold!😀

 

 

 

 

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On 05/11/2017 at 10:50 PM, D4Life said:

Reading about the Tigers focus on mindfulness on the weekend, will the Demons take this on, as poor starts and switching off during games, seemed to be our greatest issues this year.

These various coping strategies, should come as part of the membership pack.

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21 hours ago, Lord Ivanhoe said:

From the Dees Podcast Facebook page -Gold!😀

 

 

 

 

That was legit relaxing…after I got over the Colin Sylvia reference (and that late reminder of our failed finals go).

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This is a subject I've personally tried to dabble in to varying success. I even did a 30 day meditation challenge last year. I do feel like there is something to it and many benefits to come out of it but I've yet to really see these. The mindfulness meditation I had been trying was having the awareness on the breath and I guess exercising consciousness. I would like to try this again and am glad there's a few good recommendations on this thread. If anyone has some more good tips don't be afraid to let us know.

 

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@layzie

 

SKILLS OF MINDFULNESS

These aspects of mindfulness require practice (it’s a skill, not a pill). We can continue to attend to these elements and develop them further throughout our lives. Keep them in mind as you develop your own practice and watch how they emerge, fade and reemerge.

 

Awareness

·        Learning to focus your attention, rather than having it in many places at once

·        Becoming aware of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations as well as sights, sounds, smells and tastes

Nonjudgemental Observation

·        Developing a sense of compassion towards your internal experiences.

·        Becoming aware of the constant judgements we make about our experiences

·        Stepping back and noticing experiences without labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’

 

Staying in the Moment

·        Observing the here and now rather than focusing on the past or future

·        Practicing patience with the present moment rather than rushing to whatever is next

·        Participating in experiences as they occur

 

Beginners Mind

·        Observing things as they really are, rather than letting what we think we ‘know’ to be true, cloud the experience that we are having.

·        Becoming open to new possibilities

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@layzie

 

Mindfulness can be practiced formally (setting time aside) and non-formally (during everyday activities). Below, is a list of activities that may be practiced mindfully. While doing these activities, practice the skills of mindfulness covered in session.

 

·        Notice internal and external events, trying to focus your attention on the things happening around you and the thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and images that come up and noticing when your attention wanders.

·        Practice patience with the present moment, staying in this moment and noticing the urge to rush ahead to the next thing.

·        Try to notice judgements of your experience and of yourself. Try to be compassionate in your awareness of your internal experience, practicing having your thoughts and feelings without labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

·        Notice the urge to judge things based on past experiences. Attempt to bring beginners mind to the experience, observing things as they are rather than as you think they will be.

·        Notice the urge to hold onto certain feelings (eg: happiness, relaxation) and the urge to push other feelings away (eg: sadness, anxiety). Practice letting go of this struggle, just allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go as they will.

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@layzie

 

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

In our sessions, we will talk about the role of awareness as a first step to helping us make changes that will be beneficial to our performance. In particular, we focus on a particular type of awareness called mindfulness. The term mindfulness has its roots in eastern spiritual and religious traditions, however psychology has recognized its importance, and has removed the spiritual and religious context to help improve physical and emotional well-being. This approach can be useful no matter your religious or spiritual (or non) preference.

Mindfulness is nonjudgemental (compassionate) present-moment awareness of what is going on inside of us and around us. We often live our lives focused on something other than what is happening in the moment (in sport, focus is having your eyes and your mind attuned to the exact same task)- worrying about the future, ruminating about the past, focusing on what is coming up next, rather than our present task. Importantly, it is useful that we can do things without paying attention to them.  We can walk without thinking about walking, which allows us to talk to the person we are walking with, without having to think.  However this ability to do things automatically without awareness, also allows us to lose touch with what is happening right in front of us. We can develop habits (such as avoiding embarrassment), that we are not even aware of and that may not be in line with our broader goals.

Sometimes though, when we DO pay close attention to our thoughts and feelings, we become very critical of our thoughts and feelings and either try to change them or to distract ourselves because judgemental awareness can be very painful. For example, we might notice while we are about to compete that we feel sweaty or that our heart is racing and then think “ I’m an idiot, what is wrong with me!! If I don’t calm down, I won’t be able to perform to my peak!!”

Being mindful falls between these two extremes. We pay attention to what is happening inside and around us, we acknowledge events and experiences as what they are, and we allow things we cannot control to be as they are, while we focus our attention on the task at hand. For example, when competing we may notice the same feelings of stress/anxiety that came up earlier, take a moment to reflect, “There go my thoughts again,” and gently bring our attention back to our task.  This second part of mindfulness – letting go of the need to critically judge and change our inner experience- is particularly tricky. In fact, often being mindful involves practicing being nonjudgemental about our tendency to be judgemental! 

 

A FEW KEY POINTS:

  • Mindfulness is a process: We do not achieve a final and total state of mindfulness. It is a way of being in one moment that comes and goes. Mindfulness is losing our focus 100 times and returning to it 101 times.
  • Mindfulness is a habit: Just like we learned to go on automatic pilot by practicing it over and over (like learning to ride a bike!), we can learn mindfulness through practice. The more we invest in time to practice it, the easier it becomes to have moments of mindfulness, especially in the crucial moments of your performance.
  • Mindfulness activities come in many different forms: People engage in formal mindful practices like yoga, meditation or tai chi. Although these practices can take hours or days, we aim to make mindfulness easy to fit into your busy lifestyle.  People can be mindful for a moment, attending to their breath at any point of the day and noticing their experiences. ALL FORMS of mindful practice in beneficial
  • Mindfulness brings us more fully into our lives: Sometimes, especially early in treatment, we will practice mindfulness in ways that seem very relaxing and removed from the stressors of our daily lives, however the ultimate goal of mindfulness is to keep us more fully in our performance (and lives) and to improve our overall performance (and life satisfaction). Mindfulness can allow us to pause and ready ourselves for some event and bring us more fully into the task, so we perform at a higher and more consistent level, without being taken away by our thoughts and feelings.
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15 hours ago, Danelska said:

@layzie

 

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

In our sessions, we will talk about the role of awareness as a first step to helping us make changes that will be beneficial to our performance. In particular, we focus on a particular type of awareness called mindfulness. The term mindfulness has its roots in eastern spiritual and religious traditions, however psychology has recognized its importance, and has removed the spiritual and religious context to help improve physical and emotional well-being. This approach can be useful no matter your religious or spiritual (or non) preference.

Mindfulness is nonjudgemental (compassionate) present-moment awareness of what is going on inside of us and around us. We often live our lives focused on something other than what is happening in the moment (in sport, focus is having your eyes and your mind attuned to the exact same task)- worrying about the future, ruminating about the past, focusing on what is coming up next, rather than our present task. Importantly, it is useful that we can do things without paying attention to them.  We can walk without thinking about walking, which allows us to talk to the person we are walking with, without having to think.  However this ability to do things automatically without awareness, also allows us to lose touch with what is happening right in front of us. We can develop habits (such as avoiding embarrassment), that we are not even aware of and that may not be in line with our broader goals.

Sometimes though, when we DO pay close attention to our thoughts and feelings, we become very critical of our thoughts and feelings and either try to change them or to distract ourselves because judgemental awareness can be very painful. For example, we might notice while we are about to compete that we feel sweaty or that our heart is racing and then think “ I’m an idiot, what is wrong with me!! If I don’t calm down, I won’t be able to perform to my peak!!”

Being mindful falls between these two extremes. We pay attention to what is happening inside and around us, we acknowledge events and experiences as what they are, and we allow things we cannot control to be as they are, while we focus our attention on the task at hand. For example, when competing we may notice the same feelings of stress/anxiety that came up earlier, take a moment to reflect, “There go my thoughts again,” and gently bring our attention back to our task.  This second part of mindfulness – letting go of the need to critically judge and change our inner experience- is particularly tricky. In fact, often being mindful involves practicing being nonjudgemental about our tendency to be judgemental! 

 

A FEW KEY POINTS:

  • Mindfulness is a process: We do not achieve a final and total state of mindfulness. It is a way of being in one moment that comes and goes. Mindfulness is losing our focus 100 times and returning to it 101 times.
  • Mindfulness is a habit: Just like we learned to go on automatic pilot by practicing it over and over (like learning to ride a bike!), we can learn mindfulness through practice. The more we invest in time to practice it, the easier it becomes to have moments of mindfulness, especially in the crucial moments of your performance.
  • Mindfulness activities come in many different forms: People engage in formal mindful practices like yoga, meditation or tai chi. Although these practices can take hours or days, we aim to make mindfulness easy to fit into your busy lifestyle.  People can be mindful for a moment, attending to their breath at any point of the day and noticing their experiences. ALL FORMS of mindful practice in beneficial
  • Mindfulness brings us more fully into our lives: Sometimes, especially early in treatment, we will practice mindfulness in ways that seem very relaxing and removed from the stressors of our daily lives, however the ultimate goal of mindfulness is to keep us more fully in our performance (and lives) and to improve our overall performance (and life satisfaction). Mindfulness can allow us to pause and ready ourselves for some event and bring us more fully into the task, so we perform at a higher and more consistent level, without being taken away by our thoughts and feelings.

Thank you for this info Danelska. It does seem to be a philosophy that you become more attuned to the more exposure you have to it.

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