By Lesley Graham
A group of young athletes and coaches were treated to a free presentation Monday afternoon in Ocean City by Dr. Buzz Mingin on the importance of training the brain for optimal peak performance.
Mingin, a brain and behavioral health expert, discussed with the group how learning to become a master breather and training your brain could lead to excellence in their respective sport. Controlling one’s breathing helps to control the level of cortisol in the brain, which is responsible for helping to control mood, motivation and fear, he explained during his presentation at Yoga Ginger.
Mingin, who wanted to learn how to be a better athlete, has always been inquisitive about how the body works. That curiosity led him to being enrolled in school for close to 25 years, where he has been awarded doctorates in Education and Clinical Psychology. Those degrees allowed him to pursue a career in public speaking and engagement with a variety of nationwide training and education for the corporate community.
The brain is a vital part of performing at one’s best level, although generally overlooked when thinking about athletic success, Mingin said. A lot of time and energy is put into practice – the physical act of performing a specific skill set, over and over on repetition, to build muscle memory and proficiency at a certain skill.
The brain – also a muscle – needs the same time and energy, according to Mingin, to become elite, whether that is in athletics, education or a chosen profession.
Mingin has been speaking to various groups for over 25 years, honing his skills with continued education and opportunity. A former football player and current martial arts competitor, he attributes his success to his ability to control his brain in stressful situations. And he wants to teach others how to do the same.
“The most elite athletes have one thing in common: they have practiced for over 10,000 hours,” Mingin said. “That includes practicing emotional control and we do that by training the brain in neuro plasticity (muscle memory).”
Mingin also spoke to the group about the role emotional intelligence plays in creating high performers. People tend to suffer from “ANTS.” ANTS stands for Automatic Negative Thought Syndrome.
When something doesn’t go right, the first thought is to go to the negative – whether it is self-talk or to others. Mingin said this forces people to worry about the future and to dwell on the past.
Both of those scenarios, he noted, can create anxiety in the present and paralyze individuals from achieving their ultimate goals.
The group of young athletes really took to heart what Mingin was saying, answering his questions with enthusiasm. As Mingin spoke and got more in depth with his explanations, the group really leaned in to learn from one of the best in the industry.
When asked what he hopes kids take from the presentations he does, Mingin stated, “The three major things I hope people take away from today are the importance of sleep, a well-balanced diet and responsible exercise. We don’t always talk about how vital the brain and the gut are to achieving peak performance.”
Dr. Buzz Mingin can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org