Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Buddhism

I’ve followed Phil Jackson’s career for many years and have read his books.  I’ve even studied Buddhism, especially since my daughter spent seven years in a Buddhist monastery in Kyoto, Japan.  Here’s why Phil Jackson will be successful:  First and foremost, he encourages honest communication among his players.  Team meetings are often held (with and without a coach present) allowing his players to vent their feelings in a controlled environment. Second, he doesn’t over-coach his players, encouraging them to use their God-given talents, especially during the final three or four minutes of a game.  Third, he is a highly spiritual person, having learned from Native Americans  while growing up in Montana.  And finally, his players always know he cares about them as human beings first, and then as athletic performers. Coaches who combine these four principles are destined to win. And you can be sure, the head coach he selects will implement them.

Contrary to most media reports, Tiger Woods is not a Buddhist. His mother, however, is. Though Tiger is “steeped in the ways of Buddhism,” he is not a practicing Buddhist. In an interview I conducted a few years ago with John Anselmo, Woods’ 83-year old amateur coach who began working with Tiger when he was 10 years old, he told me it was Tigers’ mother, Kutilda, who first brought her son to him for instruction. And because his mother was originally from Thailand and was a practicing Buddhist, the young golfer had been steeped in the ways of Buddhism. Anselmo told me that he noticed immediately that Tiger had a sense of calmness about him and he attributed that quality to his having been reared in a Buddhist environment at home. He also told me that he believed that for Tiger, Buddhism was more of a way of life than a religion and that Tigers’ daily practice of meditation and the fact he was, at the time, leading a righteous life, had a tremendous influence on his mind. Unfortunately, like so many other professional athletes, Tiger has gone astray. But hopefully, after his ordeal with his soon-to-be-ex wife Elin is over, he will get his life back in order. Everyone deserves a second chance. And as for Elin, she has changed her residency to California which is a “community property” state where assets and net worth are split equally in divorce settlements. Sounds somewhat calculating to me.

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