How Athletes Can Improve Concentration
What are the most important factors you can control to perform well in competition?
The answer is focus, effort, preparation, emotional reactions, and attitude. Those five factors are the only aspects of performance that you can control.
When you try to control aspects of performance outside of your direct control, you become worried and take your focus off performing in the moment.
Take for instance the following…
* In gymnastics, you do not have direct control over your score, the equipment, and conditions of the competitive arena.
You do control your focus. You can choose to either immerse yourself in your routine or focus on the fear of making a mistake.
You are also in control of your effort. You can choose to go for it or hold back slightly and play it safe.
* In baseball, you do not have direct control over balls, strikes or the score.
You control your thoughts and your approach to the game. You control your emotional reaction to bad calls. You control your attitude, the way you see yourself as a player.
Being your best requires comprehensive preparation, full effort, laser focus, emotional control, and a healthy perspective. Attending to these aspects of your game lead to peak performance.
For example, soccer player Ollie Watkins, who plays for Villa of the Premier League, focuses on his effort during matches, not his statistics.
Even though Watkins has scored eight goals in 18 appearances, he prides himself on his effort during matches.
WATKINS: “As soon as I go on the pitch, the number one thing should be to work hard, and don’t leave anything out on the pitch. I feel that’s what I do to help. Goals and assists are a bonus, so I just try and run as much as I can and bring something else to the team.”
When you are fully immersed in the game, you are not overly focused on potential outcomes.
When you pay attention to your effort, you are not worried about extraneous distractions that disrupt your game.
The importance of staying focused on controlling “what you can control” is super important for athletes. Focusing on aspects you can control negates hundreds of potential internal and external distractions.
Maintaining a strict focus on what you can control reduces worry, anxiety, and pressure.
Without the added weight of pressure, you can put your maximum effort and focus into your competition and performing at your peak.
How to Focus Your Best for Peak Performance:
Effort and focus have significant impact on performance. The effort and focus you put forth can dictate your performance…
To compete with full and consistent effort and focus, rank your effort from 1-10 after each performance, one being the least amount of effort and 10 indicating maximum effort.
Also rate your focus from 1-10, 1 being highly distracted and 10 being fully immersed in the moment.
When you monitor these two mental skills, you will be more conscious of competing with high effort and focus. Self-monitoring your mental game will help you make better decisions in the next performance.
Related Articles on Mental Game:
- Focus on What You Can Control in Sports
- Visualization Can Give You a Mental Edge
- How Routines Help You Get into the Flow
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