Attention and Focus

Where is your attention when you step on the field? Where does your mind go when you start playing? Are you focused completely on the game? Or does your mind wander off to what’s going on around you? Are you more concerned with what you think your coach wants you to do and what the fans are saying or are you able to relax and just play?

Attention and focus are of vital importance during a game. As soon as you step on the field you must be able to forget everything else that is going on and be present in the moment. If you start worrying about things other than the game you won’t be able to focus on the game at hand. Always remember that when your coach puts you into the game they trust you to do what you can for the team. The minute they put you in they are telling you that they believe in your skills and your decision-making ability.

There are a million stimuli in and around a game. Being able to narrow your scope of focus to yourself will make all the difference. There is only one thing you control during a game and that is yourself. Focus on you and what you can do. Don’t worry about anything else or anyone else.

The most difficult part is when things start to go the wrong way. When a call goes against you or the ref misses a call, when the other team scores or something of that nature. Being able to ignore, forget and move on could be the difference between winning and losing a match. Always stay calm and relaxed.

Things will not always go the way you want them to, when negative thoughts start to creep into your mind you must find a way to refocus and recenter yourself. Positive self-talk or some sort of ritual breathing or something can be the difference between losing yourself or staying focused. One must find a way to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Some people believe they are able to play better when they get angry. But that simply isn’t the case. Think about it for a second, no one is always angry and as such if they only perform at their peak when they are angry then they will perform at subpar levels the overwhelming majority of the time. But if you were to stop and ask them chances are they would say that isn’t the case. Think about this when you get angry your field of vision tends to narrow and you become fixated on one objective. That objective is usually what made you angry in the first place, a missed call or a dirty play by the opposition. If you only focus on what made you angry will you be able to see your teammates around you? Will you see all the passing options you have? Chances are no. When an individual gets angry they will become more of a liability than anything else. The optimal state of mind for an athlete is cool, calm and collected.