It doesn’t take much on the court during a big tennis or pickleball point for anxiety to become too much.
During those moments, you really wish you had put forth any time developing a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is the source of keeping it cool under pressure.
Luckily, anyone can learn this vital skill that will serve you as much off the court as it does on the court.
The following is a transcript of part 5 of our Game Changers Webinar, which can be found here (HYPERLINK_GCLP).
Why don’t we pivot now to the wellness section? As we shared last time, this is OnCourt, OffCourt, focusing on mindset and wellness; thinking about the way we use our body, plays such a pivotal role in how our bodies perform, which I know is dear to Kalindi. So, we’d love to have you walk us through some ideas on wellness and mindfulness exercises.
Yeah, I’m super passionate about that, and it stems from my own personal journey with injuries and anxiety on and off the court. Games like tennis and pickleball, where it’s just an individual or a double game, it’s a playground of life. It can be really anxious and panic-inducing out there.
So, this mindfulness exercise that I was going to share today is one of my favorites because you can do it anywhere since it actually integrates into your environment.
I’ve had a lot of people say, I have trouble finding a time or a quiet space to meditate because it’s too noisy. And that’s the whole point of learning how to be mindful is to do it when there are distractions. So, this exercise is essentially integrating the distractions and your environment, making it a great one to do before a tennis or pickleball tournament where it’s loud and noisy, and you have all those distractions.
So, with that, let’s get started.
Find a comfortable seat and, if you want, you can close your eyes. Otherwise, take a soft, unfocused gaze in front of you.
Exhale and let all that air out and let that inhale-breath come naturally.
Do that a couple more times. Letting go of anything that happened in the past, letting go of any worries about the future arriving in this moment.
Begin to notice any sounds going on around you. And seeing if you can notice any of those sounds without any judgment. None of that, ‘oh, that’s a loud sound, or it’s a nice sound,’ just letting go of those labels. Think of the sounds with a sort of curiosity like you’ve never heard of them before.
Just notice them, and if any judgments do enter your mind, just treating those nicely, letting them float by, imagining them as little clouds.
Just notice sounds both near and far. All the while staying connected to your breath. Those easy inhales and exhales.
And then begin to draw your attention to the sounds of your own body. See what you notice there. Again, see if you can notice these sounds in your body without judgment. Just noticing.
Perhaps you might notice the sound your breath makes. Perhaps you notice the sound your heart makes. Allow yourself to notice any and all sounds and even the absence of any sounds. And now, taking in sounds both inside your body and outside your body.
Notice all the sounds in and around you with a non-judgmental mind. Curiosity. Simply noticing. Know that if your mind has wandered at all during this exercise, that’s perfectly okay. Anytime your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the present moment and the sounds around you.
And now, take a few easy breaths again and let go of your focus and the sounds. And wiggle your fingers and toes and take any gentle movements. As you open your eyes and return to your surroundings.
How was that for you both?
That was great.
And what was that, just a few minutes?
So, that’s the thing with a practice like this. You can do that for as long as 20 or 30 minutes or just for 30 seconds. These types of exercises can be really helpful to find that center and balance, which can often be very elusive as we’re in a competitive space; great between games just to help recenter, so we’re not in that tight or anxious state.
Even waiting in line at the supermarket.
You know Kalindi, after the first time doing this, the hearing, tied into feeling at the same time, especially when listening to your heart. And you can kind of feel the blood pumping in your body; it’s the feeling of the heart beating and the feeling of the breath, but it’s triggered through hearing.
Very interesting observation, thanks for sharing.
And most of us don’t like doing this or taking the time because we could get bored or whatever, but if you think of the benefit of a few minutes a day in terms of efficiency, relationships, patience, lowering stress, good health benefits.
This is a very easy meditation to do.
Yeah, absolutely and we’re just talking about a few minutes a day. And statistics says, how many hours, not minutes, do we spend on our phones, or checking emails, or social media and mindless searching?
It’s easy just to take some of those minutes and redirect them. And make a big, big impact.
Mindfulness off and on the court is essential for players and people. Integrating a mindfulness habit into your day isn’t difficult, scary, or something you can’t do.
Check out our variety of wellness-focused kits, products, and aids right here.
And if you want to see the rest of this game changers webinar, you can do so by clicking right here.
Kalindi Dinoffer is trained in multiple aspects of mindfulness in life and in sports, sharing on her blog MindfulKalindi.com. She is also certified to teach yoga, fitness, reiki, and MFR. Kalindi also serves as VP marketing at OnCourtOffCourt.com, a leading supplier of tennis, pickleball, fitness and yoga training aids and equipment and has been published in Tennis industry Magazine and Pickleball Magazine, and has conducted workshops at conferences around the world. In her spare time, Kalindi plays tennis, pickleball and table tennis and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and cross country skiing in the winter.