Change to Chill for Athletes & Performers

Prepping for a big game or performance can be stressful. Incorporating mindfulness into your routine can help, no matter what athletic or performance-based activity you engage in.

We get it. Most athletes and participants in performance-based activities (choir or speech club, anyone?) aren’t really into the whole “mindfulness” thing.

But guess what: there’s a ton of research behind the benefits of practicing mindfulness and its link to increased athletic performance, readiness for any performance-based competition and overall success.

As an added bonus, practicing mindfulness also helps teens to reduce their overall stress, get better sleep and improve mental clarity and concentration.

Have we got your attention? Let’s get started.

Mindfulness Reflection Activity

Mindfulness Reflection Activity

Gather the team together and in large or small groups have participants answer one, some or all of the questions below. You can also do this activity by yourself or with a partner. Once they have answered the question(s), engage in a brief discussion around their answers, or reflect on your own answers if you are doing this activity by yourself.

  • What are three reasons you like being an athlete or performer?
  • What is the best part about competing?
  • What emotions do you feel when you play or perform well?
  • How would you describe what feeling confident is like?
  • How does being a performer or athlete make you a better person?
  • What is the one thing you do after a good game or performance?
  • What do you do to calm your butterflies while you compete or perform?
  • What do you do to help you get focused before a game, meet or performance?
  • Do you use visual cues of your environment to help you focus? What are they?
  • What do you give up to play sports or participate in your chosen activity?
  • What do you do to stay calm under pressure?
  • Do you have a mantra? What is it?
  • Do you think attitude is a factor in winning or performing well? Why?
  • How does being an athlete or performer inspire you to do good?
  • How does being an athlete or performer make you a better student?

Mental Training Practices for Athletes & Performers

Mental Training Practices for Athletes & Performers

Athletes and performers can tackle each of these training practices – either all at one time or periodically throughout the season. Check in with team members or other performers regularly to get a pulse on how they are doing with their practices.

Write down your goals

Do you have a goal for your mental health? A goal for your mindfulness practice? For your athletic or activity performance?

Go “old school” and write down your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, academic and athletic goals! Putting pen to paper helps get these thoughts out of your head and, research shows, that you’re more likely to follow through with these goals when you’ve written them down.


Practice positive self-talk

As a team, or as an individual, commit to using instructional or positive self-talk rather than critical talk.

Examples of Critical Talk Examples of Instructional/Positive Talk
I can’t make that shot. I’ve been training. I can make the shot.
I won’t be able to run that fast. I am strong and fast.
I’m not motivated. What song would really pump me up right now?
I’m not good enough to make the team/cast/choir/band. I am enough and I am talented.
I’ll just let everyone down. I am more than this goal. I will do the best I can.
I can’t do that solo. I’ve been practicing for the solo and I know I can do it.


It’s just as important to pay attention to your internal dialogue, as well as the stories you tell yourself, your friends and your family. This is because your internal dialogue can reflect and shape your mental state. It’s OK to notice critical thoughts or feelings when they come up, but it’s not OK to take them with you to the next game or performance.


Mentally practice like you physically practice

As a participant in a performance-based activity, you spend countless hours training your physical body to perform (e.g., taking shots, practicing speech, singing, dancing). Now that you know the importance of your mental state, reflect on how much time you spend training your brain.

Start small with mini check-ins throughout the day. When you think of it, ask your mind to check in with your body. How is your body feeling? How is your mind feeling? Are there emotions present?

Guided Imagery for Athletes & Performers

Guided Imagery for Athletes & Performers

Guided Imagery Worksheet

Mindful Movement for Athletes & Performers

Mindful Movement for Athletes & Performers

Seated pigeon – improves mobility

Cobra – releases pressure in the spine.

Dolphin – stretches the upper back and shoulders, hamstrings, calves and foot arches at the same time.

Frog – improves strength of connective tissue around the ankles and knees, which makes it a great warm-up movement prior to lower-body exercises.

Supported Backbends – they very lightly stretch tight spots, while giving athletes a chance for deep relaxation, which speeds up recovery.



Reclined Big Toe – strengthens the knees and can target the IT band (a common tight spot in runners) and can relieve backaches and sciatic pain. Using a band/strap makes it accessible for everyone.


Boat Pose – increases abdominal and hip flexor strength.

Bow Pose – stretches the front of the body, improves posture and strengthens the back muscles.

Activities and Tools

Experience how Change to Chill activities can help teens stress less.

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How to Get Started

Download the Change to Chill Starter Kit to start impacting teens today.

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Learn and share about teen mental well-being.

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Lead a Workshop

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Community Partnerships

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