What does it take to become a sports star? It is no secret that athletes work extremely hard to be the best and stay on top of their game. But it's clear that their exercise can't only be physical; they train their minds, too. So, are there sports stars who use meditation as part of their mental training?
The answer is yes; many elite athletes meditate. Physical sports training can cause extreme stress on the body, increasing the chance of injury. Research has found that meditation helps with recovery, managing stress levels, and even improving sports performance.
What’s interesting about this list is not only are these individuals meditators, most of them are considered the greatest athletes of all time.
1. Serena Williams
Tennis star Serena Williams uses meditation to relax and stay calm under pressure. She has discussed the importance of finding time to switch off for her mental and physical health. She not only has a highly successful tennis career but also runs other business ventures, which require her to stay focused, even under extreme pressure.
Serena Williams focuses on silent meditation, observing her thoughts and coming to a space of stillness. She also practices open-eye meditation to keep a steady gaze and full attention. She uses these techniques to practice letting go of distractions and returning to her center. Practicing this technique helps her maintain her focus during the heat of the game.
2. Michael Jordan
Former professional basketball player and businessman Michael Jordan has frequently spoken about his mindfulness meditation. He claims it helped his sporting career and everyday life success. He learned from a mindfulness coach and continues to practice meditation to this day.
Michael Jordan focuses on becoming fully aware of everything around him by noticing and observing. Then he lets go of it all and focuses on the present. Think how beneficial this skill would be when he lined up to make a free throw and had fans booing him. He could observe their taunts and then let them go and focus on making the basket. He also practices the meditation method of mindfulness by focusing on his breath and clearing his mind of clutter by listening to music. He starts every morning with mindfulness meditation before doing anything else.
3. LeBron James
LeBron James is another professional NBA basketball player who meditates. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, previously winning NBA championships and gaining the title of NBA MVP. He has even been seen meditating on the sidelines during games, finding a sense of calm among a lot of activity.
LeBron James uses meditation to sustain his game and improve his mental fitness. He uses a variety of techniques, including using the guided meditation app Calm, which features a variety of different types of meditations of different lengths. He also focuses on closed-eye meditation while seated and deep breathing to center himself during games.
4. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is a NBA basketball player who has broken many records, won championships, and been named NBA MVP. He has spoken about the importance of meditation for sports and is one of the top elite athletes who meditate. He has talked about how meditation helps his career and all aspects of his life.
Stephen Curry uses a variety of meditation techniques, including visualization techniques. Visualization focuses on images to help you focus your body and mind. He uses this to help him focus on what he wants to achieve in a game and to stay calm beforehand.
Stephen meditates before every game and uses other techniques to aid his meditation, such as sensory deprivation tanks.
5. Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings is a three-time beach volleyball Olympic champion. She is the most decorated player volleyball player in history and cites meditation as an essential part of her everyday routine. She has spoken about the importance of routine and meditation to stay well.
Kerri Walsh Jennings wakes up between 4:30 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. every day to meditate. She meditates for around 15 minutes, usually using silent meditation and mindfulness meditation, by focusing on her breath. She also uses gratitude meditation to think about three things she is grateful for every morning.
6. Deena Kastor
Deena Kastor is an American long-distance runner, Olympic medalist, and American marathon record holder. During the height of her career, she broke many world and American records. She used meditation to aid her throughout her career.
Deena Kastor meditates every day, aiming for ten minutes to one hour. She uses solo meditation to raise awareness of her surroundings or guided meditation options. She also uses the app Headspace and listens to it with her daughter.
7. Carli Lloyd
Carli Lloyd is an American former professional soccer player who has won Olympic gold records, the FIFA women's World Cup, and FIFA player of the year. Meditation was part of her intense training routine for years. She used it to help her stay centered and robust, especially before games.
Carli Lloyd has spoken about using visualization meditation as her preferred method, especially during her career. Visualization is a popular sports meditation that elite athletes who meditate use. Carli Lloyd would focus on her career and what she would like to achieve to help her focus before games.
8. Barry Zito
Barry Zito played for 15 seasons in Major League Baseball and won the World Series Championship twice. He spoke about meditation throughout his career and promoted the importance of meditation for sports. He used meditation to help him at a core level, staying calm even during high-intensity and pressure during games.
Barry Zito mainly uses transcendental meditation. He likes this as there is no pressure or routine, no wrong way to do the meditation. He practices using the mantra he was taught as often as possible to relieve stress.
9. Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is an MBE-honored British racing driver. He currently competes in Formula 1 for Mercedes.
He has spoken about his struggles with managing his thoughts and slowing them down. The best cure for him has been meditation.
Lewis Hamilton spends seven to ten minutes practicing mindfulness meditation every day. He removes distractions such as his phone and finds a quiet space to sit. He focuses on listening to what is happening inside himself, without any attachment to the thoughts.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest sports stars in the world, playing for the Portugal national soccer team and the UK soccer team Manchester United. He has earned over $1 billion during his career and is involved in many other ventures, including supporting different charities. He is one of the top elite athletes who meditate.
Cristiano Ronaldo aims to meditate every day, focusing on his breath. He also watches documentaries and is learning more about meditation to help aid his practice. Currently, he aims for 15 to 20 minutes of meditation.
11. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was an American professional basketball player and one of the world's most successful and famous sports stars, who was well known for his “mamba” mentality. He had an incredible competitive drive and won multiple world championships. Throughout his career Kobe spoke about the importance of meditation.
Kobe Bryant meditated every day for 10 to 15 minutes. He learned about mindfulness meditation and focused on these methods during his practice. He focused on the breath to become present, even during games.
12. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is one of the most famous golf players in the world. He has had a successful career but began to meditate to stay calm on and off the golf course. He returned to Buddhism, which he had been around since childhood, to help him connect to meditation practices.
Tiger Woods uses silent meditation daily to help him focus. His mother first taught him. A professional has also trained him for self-induced hypnosis, which allows him to focus during tournaments.
13. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is an American football quarterback and one of the most famous sports stars.
He credits his Super Bowl wins to his regular meditation and yoga practices.
Tom Brady practices transcendental meditation to help him release stress and remain calm. This meditation technique is a form of silent mantra meditation, where you repeat a specific mantra in your mind. He has a strict daily routine that includes this practice, yoga, and his other training methods.
14. Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu is a Canadian tennis player with a career-high ranking of No. 4 worldwide. She is also the highest-ranked women's tennis player in the history of the Canadian Women's Tennis Association. She has had many career highlights, including winning against Serena Williams in 2019 at the US Open.
Meditation is the first thing that Bianca does when she wakes up. She has been practicing guided meditation since the age of 12, focusing on tapping into her five senses. She also focuses on silent meditation and focusing on her breath.
Are There Sports Stars That Use Meditation as Part of Training?
Now you can answer the question; are there sports stars that use meditation as part of training? There are many athletes who meditate, with this list being just the tip of the iceberg. Although their methods may vary, what they all have in common is the ways meditation has helped them.
Meditation does not only help their successful sporting careers, but it also improves their mental health and everyday life too. Are you ready to see how meditation can help your life?
If you are interested in meditating, check out our meditation accessories to aid your practice.