Michael Jordan Mind Games

The greatest athlete in our generation used the Powers of the Mind to dominate his competition. Learn how you can do the same!

Michael Jordan MIND GAMES

The greatest athlete in our generation used the Powers of the Mind to dominate his competition. Learn how you can do the same!


B2G's Sport Performance Yoga classes begin in two weeks. As the date nears, I'm beginning to realize that young athletes, parents and some coaches don't understand the importance of yoga and its health and mental benefits. Hundreds of professional athletes in all sports turn to yoga to keep them flexible during training and in-season. But, it also gives these great athletes a chance to mentally focus on their craft by visualizing themselves in action.

During his playing years, Michael Jordan would take an hour or two before games to meditate. He'd visualize himself making shots with a hand in his face. He could see himself stealing a pass that would be the turning point of the game. Also he'd visualize setting up his defender for the game winning shot. Why would the greatest athlete of our time make time to do this? Well, Jordan recognizes the power of the mind and that in every game, no matter the sport, success is 90% mental and 10% physical.

Yoga is not the only way to strengthen the mind-body connection, but it's a great way to understand the power of breathing and meditating, and one that would benefit young athletes tremendously.

For example, during stressful moments in a game a player can begin to feel tightness and a rapid heart beat. In sports, we liken this having "butterflies." Butterflies can lead to mistakes, such as missed assignments and poor decision-making. Butterflies can also make an athlete uncomfortable, causing shaky legs, cotton mouth, upset stomach, etc. This type of mental and physical instability can mean an athlete fails to play up to their full potential, and can ultimately contribute to a loss for the team.

Everything I mentioned above are natural feelings every athlete experiences. Some are able to deal with it better than others, but yoga provides ALL athletes an opportunity to tune out distractions and focus on managing pressure situations. Like Michael Jordan, you too can visualize game-time success.

Here are three specific ways yoga can help:

1. Yoga will teach you how to be calm during pressure situations.

Yoga is tough and at times very challenging. But the breathing techniques that are taught in class will allow athletes to stay calm and focused on the position the instructor is asking of them. The breathing then can be transferred to game time situations and calm the heart rate which will allow the athlete to focus on the task at hand. Being relaxed in clutch situations can mean the difference between a good player and great player.

2. There is power in visualization.

Being able to stop, relax and visualize yourself playing a game or competing against a top competitor before you go into battle will better prepare you to take on all challenges. Jordan believed in meditation so much, that he would actually do almost everything he envisioned and more. In yoga, you will be in positions with your eyes closed. The instructor will teach you to visualize yourself competing, the play that's called, the assignment, the touchdown you will score, or the catch you will make. To see yourself in clutch and game winning situations is powerful. What the mind sees, the body can ultimately achieve!

3. Yoga will keep you healthy!

I don't know how important staying healthy is to young athletes, but I will tell you this--if you don't take care of your body, your playing days will be short and sweet, no matter the sport. Health is everything in life and especially in sports. The careers of some of the greatest athletes were cut short because they couldn't stay healthy. Yoga prevents injuries. Let me repeat that and put in caps. YOGA PREVENTS INJURIES!!! If there was a fountain of youth for athletes yoga would be it. Don't just take that from me, take it from the hundreds of professional athletes that practice yoga during their training and recovery. Players such as Jordan, Magic, LeBron, D Wade, Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Vernon Davis, Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and the entire teams of the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles incorporate yoga into their training regimens.

I shared this to bring awareness to B2G's yoga classes. But in all honesty, I wrote this to educate athletes, parents and coaches on the importance of practicing yoga. If you don't attend our classes, we encourage you to attend any local class. Get it in. Your career and body depends on it. If you want to play into your 30s, take yoga seriously!

Henry Bell

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