Focus on Focus

On another page on this website “What can we Control”, one of the components is Focus

It is correctly lumped in with Effort but can be its own distinct category!

On the other page, the following bullet points are listed 

  • This may arguably be the most important piece. 
  • Are you distracted? 
  • Are you “in your head”.

There are various reasons why it may be difficult for an athlete to focus.  Some of the main reasons are maturity level and Stressors.  Ignoring Maturity level for now, Stress Management and for that matter, dealing with not only the Stress of the actual participation in the sport (doing well, excelling etc) but also the stressors of daily life (school work, relationships, home life, financial issues, illness, to much to do, etc.) are major issues that affect an athlete’s ability to focus. 

When the lack of focus issue is from Stress, athletes need to recognize what their stressors are and also, what specific stress or stress management techniques they need to help with the stressors.  In addition, if it comes from an inability to control one’s emotions, an athlete also needs to find tools to help them focus

 

For A LOT of information about Dealing with Emotions and Feelings CLICK HERE

For A LOT of information about dealing with Stress & Stress Management CLICK HERE

For a Comprehensive list of Stress Management Techniques, CLICK HERE

Sometimes, an athlete’s problem is not that they are stressed, angry or emotional or even their maturity level, it’s simply that they get distracted.  In this case, one of the best tools to use is to practice “mindfulness”.  Mindfulness summed up to it’s most simplistic definition is being “in the moment”.  The Stress Management page above has articles about mindfulness but a REALLY good tool for some people is a Concentration grid

A concentration grid is easy to do and brings a person’s mind into the moment.  It forces the brain to concentrate which in turn, can transfer to the tasks that are upcoming rather than things far away or out of control.  The grid is TECHNICALLY a mindfulness technique 

Another tool to use that does the same as a concentration grid is an “easy” puzzle!  USE THIS LINK TO PLAY SOME

Finally, What does focus mean?  Does it mean Super serious all of the time?  Not Necessarily?  But it does mean you should know when it’s okay to “joke around” and when you need to be more serious

Could it mean get real quiet and think about what you’re going to do?  Maybe.  Some sports Like Softball and Baseball require you to be “centered” and cerebral all of the time including how to approach an at-bat, what is the next play going to be if the ball comes to me and where do I have to run if the ball doesn’t get hit to me.  Sports like Bowling require an athlete to anticipate and envision how their next turn will look.   It’s typically better if athletes in those sports are calmer to be focused

On the other hand, sports like Soccer, Basketball and Field Hockey require more ongoing active participation so focus for them, maybe getting hyped up, energized, excited..maybe even angry, so that they play fast and aggressively.  The most popular examples of  this are football and combat sports.   

Then there’s sports like Volleyball where some positions should be more quietly focused and cerebral while other sports on the floor should be aggressive and energized

THIS ARTICLE form Psychology Today, examines the different types of FOCUS in Athletics and also allows an athlete to determine what works well for them

I hope this posting on this website is helpful for you in your athletic journey.  Not “focus” and figure it out