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How NBA Coach Phil Jackson Taught His Teams Mindfulness

Phil Jackson & Oprah Winfrey | 4:52


One of the things that you knew you had to do with the bulls in the beginning here in Chicago, and then moving on to the Lakers, especially with Kobe Bryant, and you knew you had to create a team, you had to build a team, and one of the ways you did that was the one breath, one mind. Can you explain how and what do the guys think of you coming in with your zen.

Here you are. I never costed in Zen stuff. You know, I, I approached it with mindfulness. Mindfulness, yes. You know, a lot of our players in the NBA are from deeply religious families. Very much like my background. Yes. Yeah. And, you know, anything that would come, uh, be a conflict of their religious beliefs. I didn't wanna to, to touch or get them upset.

And so isn't it interesting how you knew that because you'd come from that? Exactly. Yes, exactly. Yes. So we talked about mindfulness as being, you know, as much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up. We need to build our mental strength so we can focus, get one pointed tension, and so that we can be in concert with one another in times of need.

Mm-hmm. , when you come off the court, you've had a bad call, things going wrong. You sit on the bench, you take a breath and you reset yourself, you reset yourself, and you do that through this mindfulness. You just come right back in and collect yourself. So we practiced mindfulness is what you have to do.

So you would literally have the guys sit in stillness. That's right. Meditating. That's right. Taught them how to hold their hands. Mm-hmm.  where their shoulders had to be. The whole process. You know, being an upright situation so that you're not slouched and you're not gonna fall asleep and they bought into it.

Would you do this before every game? You would do this, regularly, you would do this? We, we introduced it and we introduced it in training camp. And then day of games we started using it and it ultimately, Became a process where you, it's like centering yourself sin. That's right. Just getting back and being sinner.

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