It’s the 4th quarter of the game and the score is tied. There are 24 seconds left on the clock and the ball ends up in your hands. Your team, the fans, the GM up in his skybox—they’re all counting on you.
You take the shot … and miss.
This is the kind of pressure top athletes face every single game. The expectations are immense and the stakes are high. There’s no time to get caught up in your head, questioning why or beating yourself up for a mistake. You have to stay in the game—you have to focus and refocus constantly.
That’s where mindfulness comes in. “It’s all about being present, and if you lose it, how fast you can refocus on the next play,” says mental training coach Graham Betchart. His work with NBA players, such as the Miami Heat’s (and slam-dunk superstar) Aaron Gordon, is all about teaching athletes at the very top of their field how to train their minds just as they would train their bodies.
But these skills are not just for sports stars, says Betchart. Anyone who needs to focus under pressure thrives through this work, he says. With that in mind he…