Dr. Willard has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, and teaching for almost as long. His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, cnn.com, and elsewhere.

Mindfulness for Kids 10: Sports & Performance

with Dr. Christopher Willard & Hunter Clarke-Fields

Join Hunter Clarke-Fields and Dr. Christopher Willard in this special series of mindfulness practices for kids! Mindfulness offers kids a powerful tool for managing the pressures of school, peer relationships, and the increasing digital distractions, ultimately promoting their overall emotional intelligence and promoting a healthier, more balanced approach to life. 

[Mindfulness For Kids 10] Sports & Performance

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: You're listening to a Mindfulness for Kids episode of the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Today, we're doing a practice about sports and performance.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent or kid. I'm your host, Hunter Clarkfields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the bestselling book, Raising Good Humans, and now Raising Good Humans Every Day.

I'm joined by Dr. Christopher Willard, clinical psychologist, author, and dad. He is the author of 20 books, including Alpha Breaths and Growing Up Mindful. Both of us have been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years, and we are so excited to share the benefits with you.

Hey Chris, so nice to see you again. How are you?

[00:01:01] Dr Chris Willard: I'm doing well. Always good to see you. Always good to connect. Good, good,

[00:01:05] Hunter: good. I hear that you may have something for us today that can help us out with our challenges around performance in sports. Is that so?

[00:01:14] Dr Chris Willard: Absolutely. So I know I used to get really nervous about performing, singing.

When I was a kid, my son gets a little nervous when he has to do something, go up and do a class presentation, or definitely before his soccer games, and I think some of us know Leo Messi. I guess in the pandemic, he got so bored, he started practicing mindfulness, so, um, soccer kids everywhere can, uh, rejoice.

Maybe soccer parents everywhere can rejoice, I guess, if that makes sense. Definitely. So, should we kick it off with a little visualization here?

[00:01:47] Hunter: Yeah,

[00:01:48] Dr Chris Willard: let's do it. I'm in. All right. Sounds good. So, I'll just invite everyone, if you feel comfortable, you can just allow your eyes to close or just lower your eyes.

You can be sitting for this. You can be laying down

first, maybe noticing sounds at a distance, and

then zooming into Feel your breath,

just enjoying the rise and fall of your breath, your mind may wander and you can just bring it back to your breath,

and then aware of all the sensations at the edges of your body as well as deeper inside your body.

And I'll just invite you to begin to imagine that You're alone somewhere, or you do your performances, you're the only person in that concert hall or stadium,

you can look around and see that there's actually mostly darkness in the seats around you. You

might be aware of the sensations, the echoey footsteps of yourself, the smells of the room or of the grass,

and you're just there to practice. You can feel... Your hands on the surface of that ball, or racket, or instrument, and just beginning to make those movements that you need to make, slowly and mindfully, moving your arms or your hands, your feet, almost in slow motion,

as you go through the movements and motions for performance. With each breath, you can find yourself. Speeding up, breathing in more confidence for each movement.

Then you pause for a moment to rest, and you can hear footsteps echoing in the distance. You can hold this feeling of confidence, but as you look into the hall or into the arena or across the field, you can make out that hero of yours, that role model, that expert, that Maestro, who you aspire to, to be, or even to play.

This person approaches, smiles at you, you're amazed, but also just so confident, happy as you smile back, surprised at how friendly this figure is.

This expert, this teacher approaches you and just offers wordlessly to help you with whatever aspect or aspects of your art, your performance, your play that you want the most help with in this moment.

You can just enjoy their presence, watch them, and feel yourself embodying their practice. Advice, their movements, as you learn to move, just as this maestro moves,

you can continue to feel your body moving, the confidence of this expert, of this pro.

Movements that you were making before, just improving, perfecting just a little bit more each time as you embody the skills. with a master.

Your own abilities get better and better, that much closer to perfect, as the expert just watches, compliments you on your hard work,

offering a few more tips.

You pause once more, smile at each other, accept those compliments from this expert, as the maestro leaves you with a high five, fist bump,

and as your bodies make contact, you feel that magic. inside of yourself that you can take with you. You can take that voice with you when you listen deeply. Take those movements as you thank this expert, this pro, with words or a body gesture. Watch him or her depart, their voice still ringing in your mind, those new skills still vibrating in your muscles.

Their skills embodied in your body as you let the lesson sink in,

breathing in the lessons for a few more moments,

carrying these with you to your next performance as you wiggle your toes, raise your eyes, and just take a look at the room around you.

I feel like

[00:08:03] Hunter: I need to listen to this before I do my next talk, Chris, it's going to be very helpful.

[00:08:11] Dr Chris Willard: I think it's really wonderful for any, any performance to kind of take on that, that embodiment of these, these real, real pros, masters of the craft. Absolutely.

[00:08:20] Hunter: Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Chris.

[00:08:23] Dr Chris Willard: Thank you, Hunter. Wonderful to be here.

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