After taking over as head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989, Phil Jackson (who had won two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973 playing with the New York Knicks) introduced mindful meditation to the team.
After that, they won six NBA Championships.
In 1999, as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson again introduced mindful meditation to his team. They won five NBA championships.
"As much as we run and we pump iron to build our physical strength up, we need to build our mental strength up," Jackson later said.
Michael Jordan admitted that “Zen Buddhist stuff" helped him become a better player. At the end of game five of the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round, Jordan made what's known as "the shot," considered one of the most Zen-like baskets ever, to cinch the Bulls' 101-100 victory.
Now, according to a study in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, there's more evidence that Coach Jackson was spot-on.
Researchers found that University of Miami football players who practiced mindfulness for 12 to 15 minutes a day were more able to withstand emotional and mental demands of hours of strenuous physical training. They had greater resilience and more sustained focus.
Your takeaway? Whether it's walking 10,000 steps a day, training for a charity bike ride or enjoying your daily workout at home, you can use mindful mediation to keep up your resolve and maximize your enjoyment.
In short, you'll increase mental and physical toughness and become your best athlete, by finding time for mental clarity.
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