Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson is turning to meditation in his preparation for the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. He’s the latest of many athletes using meditation to improve their performances.
In a recent article published by the Associated Press, the Golden State Warriors’ shooting guard Klay Thompson stated that he “[aims to meditate] for 30 minutes. An hour would be nice, but you’ve got to work up to that.”
Mental preparation has long been considered one of the most important aspects of an athlete’s performance.  And many athletes know how easy it can be to let the mental pressure bring their game down. Thompson himself has stated that earlier in his career he struggled to let go and unwind after a game.
Now, however, Thompson is using meditation to focus and to relax [here’s some relaxing meditations you can try for yourself]. And he no longer lets a bad performance bring him down.
Meditation Helps Prepare The Mind, Says Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson says meditation helped him learn how to let go and how to handle the pressure now in his eight NBA season. He also uses guided visualizations for relaxation [one of the easiest ways to do this is with a meditation app].
The lessons life has taught him have given him a real appreciation for the complexity of the human mind:
“The mind’s so powerful. Just try to train the mind to deal with adversity in situations that are unpleasant but make you better in the long run, that’s what I try to do,” Thompson said  when asked how he got involved meditation. “Just a lot of reading on the internet and learning from coach (Steve) Kerr. Learned from Tony Robbins, too. It was cool talking to him last year. He had a great outlook on things. Just from veteran players. David West taught me a lot about that side of the game, the mental part.”
Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais applauds Thompson for how he has turned his attitude around and learned to control his mind. A psychologist with experience working with the Seattle Seahwaks, USA Volleyball and various athletes for the Olympics, Dr. Gervais is an expert in the application of meditation for athletes. And he sees meditation as a powerful tool for athletes.
One Using Meditation To Prepare For What’s Ahead
“There are only three things we can train as humans: our craft, our bodies, and our mind,” says Gervais. “World-class athletes don’t leave any of those up to chance — why should the rest of us?”
Thompson also uses guided visualizations to visualize how a game will go, and even how he will react in certain situations.
Scientific research has shown that this visualizations can help prepare the mind for the important moments. It’s a technique that many different athletes use, including Tiger Woods, who is known to visualize every hole of a golf course he is to play on.
Another tip that both Thompson and Dr. Gervais agree on is using calming nature sounds. Thompson says he, “Can’t listen to rap or hip-hop when I do it because then I just get distracted. I try to put on classical Pandora or some nature sounds. Something pleasant in the background, it’s nice.”
Of course, the obvious question is this: If athletes put this much effort into training the mind through meditation why shouldn’t the rest of us?