Concentration in Sports

July 06, 2015

If concentration is the key to athletic excellence, then mistakes in concentration are the primary reason that athletes struggle performance-wise. Choking, slumps, performance problems, fears and lack of self-confidence can all be traced to the athlete’s mental mistakes in focusing. If you want to develop mental toughness and start performing more to your potential, then you have to begin to learn how to better control your focus of concentration. In particular, you had better learn how to keep your concentration squarely focused on you and what you’re doing. Let me explain.
Just about every athlete has had the heart-warming experience of getting psyched out or intimidated. You know the story. You’re feeling good about yourself and your game until you catch a glimpse of the opponent(s).  Maybe they’re bigger, faster, stronger, better, smarter, etc. than you.  Perhaps they have a more snazzy, expensive equipment than you. Maybe it’s the matching carrier so artfully slung across his shoulder. Perhaps, you notice that they’re using a new this or that. Whatever it is about them that you think gives them the competitive edge over you, the sight of this opponent begins to strike terror into your little heart. You start to break out into a cold sweat. Your confidence drains suddenly to empty. Your knees turn into Jell- O and your arms and legs feel like lead. And the weirdest thing of all…You just can’t seem to stop focusing on them!!!!! You’re like a deer in headlights. Are you ever in trouble! And then it gets worse, because then you start doubting things about yourself.  Maybe you’re tired.  Maybe your belly is feeling the wrath of that uneaten breakfast.  All these distractions!

As an athlete your major concentration job is to stay focused on what you are doing. You need to block out your opponent and everything about them  unless there are some strategic things that are useful to consider and that will ultimately help your performance.That is what I help clients do, over and over again.  You see, you can have all the will-power in the world.  You can try your best to concentrate, focus, block-out the things around you.  But here is the sad truth: Your conscious mind can’t do it. It can only pedal as fast as it’s little legs can go, so to speak.  Eventually, your will-power, or ego, will give out.  It will succumb to the barrage of your views.  Those little things that you noticed about you and your opponent trigger anxiety, loss of concentration, and ultimately your performance suffers. Mental toughness is a gigantic part of peaking your performance.  You can practice, fine-tune those awesome set of skills and be completely in the dark about mental performance.  However, come competition time, you choke.  Why does this sound familiar?  Because it’s the truth.  If you do not hone in on your mental skills, you will not and cannot achieve peak performance.  Period. Concentration is a key proponent, but to get there, with proven results, requires mental training.  I often tell my clients that they have to perform in the zone.  The zone state is, essentially, performing from your subconscious.  Playing or performing from the zone, you enable yourself to block out all the distractions, your concentration is clear, your focus is unmarred. Learning about the way your mind works, and how you can alter your conscious state is beneficial in any sport and in life as well.  Your conscious mind can only get you so far.  Your subconscious mind is the most powerful tool in your arsenal, if you can learn how to harness that, you can overcome any distraction and perform your best.  I have helped many elite athletes to (not only) understand their subconscious minds, but to learn how to perform from their subconscious minds.  If you have questions or want to know more, please feel free to contact me.  I enjoy what I do in helping athletes unlock their true potential.  Thanks for reading.  InJoy your day!

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