The Mindful Athlete
March 15, 2016
THRU THE GAME THOUGHTS
With extensive research backing the number one tool, mindfulness in George Mumford’s popular book, The Mindful Athlete, guides the reader through just how powerful this practice is for athletes in competition and in life. At Thru the Game, we focus on an athlete’s mental health, and mindfulness with visualization and mental rehearsal, has been scientifically proven to improve not only performance but mental wellness. Mumford demonstrates the versatility for “high pressure situations, managing the anxiety and uncertainty of injury” and many other situations.
Through his own mental health journey as an aspiring athlete to finding himself in the dark abyss of addiction, Mumford leads readers through how he found a deeper understanding of himself by using multiple mindfulness techniques to bring himself to stronger mental health because he experiences how negative thoughts and emotions can overrun a person. He leads readers to the realization that all of these tools can lead to mental wellness.
Michael Jordan credits George Mumford with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls, helping Jordan lead the team to six NBA championships. Mumford also helped Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom and countless other NBA players turn around their games. A widely respected public speaker and coach, Mumford is sharing his own story and the strategies that have made these athletes into stars in The Mindful Athlete: The Secret to Pure Performance. His proven, gentle but groundbreaking mindfulness techniques can transform the performance of anyone with a goal, be they an Olympian, weekend warrior, executive, hacker, or artist.
Mumford's deeply moving personal story is unforgettable. A basketball player at the University of Massachusetts (where he roomed with Dr. J, Julius Erving), injuries forced Mumford out of the game he loved. The meds that relieved the pain of his injuries also numbed him to the emptiness he felt without the game and eventually led him to heroin. After years as a functioning addict, Mumford enrolled in Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, and made meditation, on and off the cushion, the center of his life. He kicked drugs, earned a master's degree in counseling psychology and began teaching meditation to inmates and others.
When Michael Jordan left the Chicago Bulls to play baseball in 1993, the team was in crisis. Coach Phil Jackson, a long-time mindfulness practitioner, contacted Dr. Kabat-Zinn to find someone who could teach mindfulness techniques to the struggling team - someone who would have credibility and could speak the language of his players. Kabat-Zinn led Jackson to Mumford and their partnership began. Mumford has worked with Jackson and each of the eleven teams he coached to become NBA champions. His roster of champion clients has since blossomed way beyond basketball to include corporate executives, Olympians, and athletes.