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  • Steven Berry

Rhythm & Harmony as a Core Performance Facilitator

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

What is your relationship to sport? Please comment below and share your thoughts; you are much appreciated.

Last week as a group, we came together for the 2nd workshop on mindfulness practices for sport performance. In addition to other learning, we were able to explore core performance facilitators that result from the "Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE)" program. "Rhythm and Harmony" in performance is noted as 1 of the 5 performance facilitators that result from practicing mindfulness, especially when we tailor our practice for sport. MSPE defines "rhythm & harmony" as the integration of concentration, letting go, and relaxation where you connect to the totality of your athletic experience and find an effortless rhythm is what you are doing.

A few days after our mindfulness group, I viewed a video clip of my daughter in slow motion paddling for a wave---rhythm and harmony came to mind. Here is the clip posted on the Mental High Performance Instagram site:

I became more curious about what sport psychology literature maybe available on the topic of rhythm & harmony as a performance facilitator. I was able to locate an article titled "Dancing with nature: Rhythm and harmony in extreme sport participation" relatively quickly (hyper-linked below). This article definitely has some overlap into the sport psychology world and is a pretty fun read. Here, these researchers add to sport psychology literature by including the relationship and perspective extreme sport veteran athletes have with their environment. Some of the research subjects in this article include big wave surfers and other "extreme sports" athletes. No matter if your sport is death defying (big wave) or more high performance (e.g. surfing lower trestles), I think we can all relate to when we are in rhythm and harmony with our environment.

Here is the article if you want a fun read:

"Dancing with nature: Rhythm and harmony in extreme sport participation"

Switching gears slightly, but tying this all back together, one of my favorite TED talks is of professional skate boarder Rodney Mullen. Here, Rodney titles his talk "getting back up again." Rodney talks about how when we fall in our athletic "dance" or our "dance" in life, we need to get back up again. He gives some great examples of his friends who were homeless (a fall) but then go on to become very successful (rhythm & harmony). Side note: the Buddha was homeless too during his life? Rodney also gives the example of professional skate boarders like Danny Way who broke their neck but continue to get back up and achieve high performance goals.

Here is Rodney's TED talk:

Thanks for reading. I hope you continue to find your rhythm and harmony and when you fall that you remember to get back up and keep on dancing.

Next week I hope to cite some interesting research that illustrates how sport psychology can help us heal from physical injuries at a faster rate than average.

Take care! Did anyone relate this blog to the current societal situation? It's interesting how we can take performance for individuals and expand those ideas to a macro lens.


Brymer, Eric & Gray, Tonia. (2009). Dancing with nature: Rhythm and harmony in extreme sport participation. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning · December 2009.

Kaufman, K., Glass, C. & Pineau, T. (2018). Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Mullen, Rodney. (2013). TED talks: "Getting Back Up Again."

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