Team GB’s star army of athletes, who produced the country’s most successful haul ever in Rio, have frequently talked about their gruelling training regimes.
However, it’s thought that mindfulness – the art of being aware of the present moment – could have helped Britain’s top athletes eke out the crucial marginal gains that mean the difference between winning and losing.
Bronze-medal winning Tom Daley spoke out about the powers of meditation ahead of the Olympics and other top athletes including Max Whitlock and Jack Laugher are thought to have employed the help of mindfulness.
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Tom Daley, who won a bronze medal at the Olympics in Rio, has been a big advocate of mindfulness in training, saying he’s been using the Headspace for Sports app to help focus his mind
While the Team GB diver experienced disappointment in the solo diver, he scooped a bronze medal with Daniel Goodfellow in the 2016 games
Daley said ahead of the games that he uses meditation and mindfulness to focus on the moment, forgetting about previous dives
Daley revealed that he’d used the Headspace app to help him prepare for the Rio Olympics. He told ESPN in July that meditation had become a crucial part of his training regime.
He said: ‘It’s called Headspace. I massively recommend it. Lots of the English Institute of Sport guys are actually using it. It’s helped me massively.’
Daley said that the app, which is downloaded onto smart phones, helped to focus his breathing, saying: ‘It’s just about being really present in a particular moment. Every morning I do 10 minutes of mindfulness where I do meditation and I use that in competition and every day life.
Daley, who dates Hollywood screen writer and activist Dustin Lance Black, said he’d started meditating at the beginning of the year and had seen an improved consistency when it came to his performance in competitions running up to the games.
Headspace for Sports was made available to all athletes competing in Rio and is thought to have been used by plenty of those who brought home medals
The Headspace app for athletes was devised by sports psychologists at the English Institute of Sport, led by Katie Warriner, and Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe.
Athletes competing in Rio were able to access the app for free and use sections that focus on everything from motivation, recovery and training to competition, focus and rehab.
Laura Trott, who became the most decorated British female Olympian of all time, spoke out about how breathing in the right way helped to calm her nerves ahead of competition.
She told Cosmopolitan magazine that being mindful had proved hugely helpful on the track.
Mindfulness fan: Laura Trott, who is now Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, says she uses the art of meditation to help her prepare for the biggest of races
The gold-medal winning Brit said meditation helped to stop her mind ‘running away’ and concentrate better
She revealed: ‘The first one is all to do with breathing, and really ties into the idea of mindfulness – only thinking about what you’re doing in that very moment and not allowing your mind to run away with worries about past events and those in the future.’
‘It sounds stupid but by thinking about your breathing, it stops you thinking about anything else. If you push your belly out when you take a breath in, like doing the opposite to what you think you should do, it really helps.’