#98: Top Mindfulness Tips For Better Performance With Therapist Katie Cheadle

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Mindfulness is significantly connected to performance. It is highly needed by our female athletes, any kind of athletes, and for the moms or the people who support the athlete’s journey.

“The true practice of mindfulness is being present with non-judgments”

That is one of the insights of our guest for today, Katie Cheadle. Katie has been a highly competitive softball player and a therapist with a masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis on mindfulness and performance. She primarily works with high performing professionals and athletes.

Today, she’s going to share with us her top mindfulness tips for our daughters’ better performance. Let’s dive in!

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being present. It’s noticing what thoughts might be coming up to you right now. What emotions might you be experiencing? What physical sensations do you have at the moment? And then practicing non-judgment around it. 

Sometimes, whenever we feel and realize we’re thinking of something that feels wrong, we judge ourselves. We start to prompt ourselves that we shouldn’t think in that certain way.

But the true practice of mindfulness is being present with non-judgment. It is accepting that we feel tired, disappointed, etc., without judging or condemning ourselves. 

What is The Mindful Grind?

Mindfulness has been a popular term not just for female athletes but also anywhere in our lives. A lot of times our brain is somewhere else and it would be a disadvantage to play with an unfocused mind. In all areas of our lives, mindfulness is an important skill to practice, it helps improve our mental health, and helps us survive in this competitive world. 

If you have experienced working in the corporate world, there’s so much similarity and overlap to the athlete experience in terms of being under pressure, and trying to perform your best. People are so anxious, and so overworked and so stressed, 

There was this idea that to perform at a high level, so many sacrifices had to be made. People sometimes disregard mental health, when it’s actually the key to enhancing performance. And the same thing goes for the athletes. They have the instinct to grind and work hard. 

When you combine that grind with mindfulness. You’ll have the mindful grind which is an effective way to enhance performance. It is the act of working hard consciously. It helps athletes avoid pushing themselves too much to the point of burning out. 

Why is it important for athletes to have mindfulness?

From a high-performance perspective, we can only excel when we are mindful of the present moment.

I’m sure anyone who’s had an amazing game had these moments where they lost track of time and space. They probably didn’t hear anyone in the stands, but they are in the present moment. They are in the moment. 

A lot of these moments could happen by accident, but what if we can practice doing it consciously? 

It would be a great deal for athletes to know when to switch on their momentum, and so that’s why practicing mindfulness is an important thing to do. Athletes on the top teams are not usually all about physical skills but what separates them from others is having that ability to get into the flow state where they’re at their best and stay in it. 

Athletes going unconscious and kind of winging it, are missing huge opportunities for growth. Without practicing mindfulness they’re missing out on their chance to maximize their potential. 

You can start practicing mindfulness through simple activities such as breath work.

Athletes could do 10 deep belly breaths early in the morning. Or they could do box breathing. Being able to control or practice breathwork would slowly help athletes control or practice their breathing, nerves, and thoughts during the game.

What’s helpful when your athlete is having anxiety/panic attacks?

Communication matters. Is it anxiety or is it normal stress? Parents should know the differences between the two and communicate them with their female athletes. A lot of stress and anxiety stems from miscommunications. People misinterpret anxiety and stress, because of the common usage of the term anxiety. 

As parents, we can be so reactive whenever something out of the ordinary happens, or when problems arise. Mindfulness is so beautiful for parents to practice because it allows you to slow down and operate differently. And whenever something makes you remember things you struggled with in the past, mindfulness helps you to bounce back and be in the present. 

One of the best pieces of advice for sports parents is to be mindful and curious about their child’s athlete experience. Ask questions, and don’t jump to conclusions. Allow your athlete to kind of understand what’s going on. 

Mindfulness when it comes to parenting and supporting your athlete is the key because it allows you to respond versus react. 

Better performance is a result of being mindful. You can help shape the environment for your female athlete by being mindful of how you react, what you say, and what you show up for.

Practice acknowledging what’s in the present moment without judgment first. You can also help your athlete practice mindful grind through breathing exercises. Providing your athlete the opportunity to grow, be mindful, and take care of their mental health would help them a long way not just in their sports career, but also in life.


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