Alternate Ways of Staying Focused While Playing Sports

Focus is a game changer

Alternate Ways of Staying Focused While Playing Sports

For anyone who has ever participated in sports, the idea of maintaining a mental edge during a game is all-too-obvious. Losing focus is described in a number of unflattering ways. The most noteworthy label is that we choked.

The only way to avoid the proverbial, game-on-the-line choke is to be able to raise our level of focus. For some gifted athletes, this ability seems to come naturally. However, for the majority of us, this art requires practice, just like a golf putt, basketball shot, or athletic skill.

So, how can you improve your ability to stay focused, while playing sports? We've come up with a few alternative ways that we think you may find helpful. Like the actual athletic skills required for any sport, the art of staying focused takes practice. Here are three tips to help you stay focused while playing sports.

Visual Concentration

The human body instinctively absorbs what our eyes are focusing on. This level of visual intensity can be a huge detriment during a sporting event. Anyone who has participated in an exciting game, surrounded by rabid fans, appreciates what visual distraction can do to our focus.

There are actually two parts for applying what our eyes see during a game and how we can use that reality to our advantage. One is to practice the art of avoiding direct eye contact with otherwise adverse events in our viewing space. Certainly, a basketball player will find it distracting to look upon an opposing fan, someone waving their hands in a crazy fashion. The idea is to practice visual concentration before you hover over a golf ball for that all-important putt or toe the strip needing to sink a foul shot to win the game.

Coaches will actually create practice environments that duplicate the setting in game situations. Crowd noise is pumped in to mirror what it might sound like during the game, plus other types of visual distractions are used to break the player's concentration.

It is easier to block out noise than it is to maintain your visual acuteness on the task at hand. For this reason, it is important to learn how to perfect your visual concentration. Find things to look at in the gym or at the stadium that keep your eyes from drifting.

There is a direct correlation between being able to deflect distractions and remain focused on the game. Sports psychologists are often entrusted with helping develop this skill in professional athletes. The idea is to improve concentration in the middle of highly intense competition.

Stay in the Now

Another important aspect of staying focused is to avoid thinking about outcomes. This is where you can actually help the process by allowing your eyes to drift during the game. If you catch yourself thinking about winning the game or how you're playing, look around and let your mind wander for a few seconds.

When you refocus on the immediate situation, you'll often discover that this unhealthy attention being given to something in the future is magically gone. This technique can also help in differentiating between focusing and thinking.

Too often, athletes think themselves right out of being focused. The two are not the same. Focus, especially when you're exhausted from the strain of competition, can be overwhelmed by negative thoughts. Allowing yourself to drift for just a second or two can help you regain your focus and stay in the now.

Be Relaxed

It is one thing to stretch muscles or focus on keeping your physical body relaxed during a game, but quite another to teach yourself to loosen up automatically. The physiological reality is that we tighten up the longer a game or sporting contest goes on.

Eventually, our physical bodies will not respond like they did at the outset of the game. One way to help reinvigorate your muscles is to self-massage them. There are also various natural oils that help muscles relax, plus can help rejuvenate your mental focus as well.

Some of these helpful products are available in a convenient roll-in package, so you can use them anywhere. Young Living Essential Oils can be a perfect way to invigorate tired muscles and stimulate your sense of focus while playing sports.

Focus in sports is often the difference between winning and losing. Too much focus on either of the latter outcomes can ultimately create poor results as well. The key is to practice the art of staying focused before you have to do it. Work on your visual concentration and learn to stay in the now. In the middle of the game, learn to relax and avoid tense muscles by stretching and rolling-on some relaxing essential oils. As you practice these suggestions, you'll find maintaining your level of focus becomes second-nature.

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Dennis McKonkie
See all posts by Dennis McKonkie