Professional sports bring a significant amount of pressure both on and off the field. Australian football player Brett Kirk credits his ability to remain a fearless competitor to his daily meditation practice. Kirk began meditating in his late 20s when his friend passed away. With continual practice, Kirk found that meditation provided the comfort he needed by helping him to practice mindfulness. Another Australian athlete, Cam Bancroft, claims that he had a meditation journey that was similar to that of Brett Kirk. Bancroft associates his focus on the field to his daily meditation practice.
In the world of elite sport, athletes are always looking for that special something that can help them gain a winning edge over their opponents and cope with extreme pressure.
Mindfulness and meditation techniques have been around for centuries, but increasingly some of Australia’s high-profile athletes are using the tools to help them deal with life on and off the playing field..
Sydney Swans assistant coach Brett Kirk was one of sport’s fearless competitors during his playing career with the AFL club.
But his ferocity on the field belies his thoughtfulness off it, and he believes it was his daily meditation practice that helped him reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Kirk said he started practising mindfulness and meditation while at the Swans in his early 20s following the death of a close mate.
“Like a lot of young men you get tipped upside down and turned inside out and I didn’t really know which was up,” he said.
“I found it was really comforting for me and also allowed me to deal with some anger and different other stuff that was going on inside me.”
Up and coming Australian cricketer Cam Bancroft’s journey to meditation was similar.
“I know that at times I have got some personality traits of being really intense, being really focused,” he said.
“And while they are strengths of mine … being able to tailor that back to a really relaxed, passive approach is something that I have had to learn and develop.”
Bancroft’s Perth Scorchers coach and former Australian opening batsman Justin Langer describes his meditation routine as the most important part of his day.
And now at the age of just 24 Bancroft has become a meditation teacher.
“I think it is a really important part of your life. It’s amazing what you can come to in your own mind when you have a really passive attitude in the way you think,” the West Australian batsman said