Sports Focus Tips for Immediate Sports Success
Quick — think of a big purple gorilla on roller skates!
Did you laugh? Did you wonder why I told you to think of a big purple gorilla on roller skates? At minimum, did you at least think?
I’ll come back to the purple gorilla in a few minutes — for now, I want you to think about how critical focus is as it relates to athletic sports performance. When athletes are focused, two very important things happen (Mind of Steel):
1) They eliminate outside distractions and focus solely on the task at-hand (the next play).
2) When they fail, rather than dwelling on the stress and adversity they immediately re-focus their attention on the only thing that is important – again, the next play.
Unfortunately, athletes are human and regularly battle with their mental toughness and focus as a result. While it’s easy to suggest to an athlete to simply “focus on the next play,” in many instances the athlete instead hangs on to that last missed shot. It is in these moments that a thought intervention can make all the difference in the world — and dramatically improve sports performance.Now back to the big purple gorilla on roller skates — the purpose of me asking you to think of that image was to illustrate how easily we can shift our attentional focus (even if it’s something silly). Sometimes athletes need thought-stopping techniques to shake up their emotional state and allow a positive emotion to replace an anxious emotion. Of course, thinking of a big purple gorilla on roller skates won’t guarantee on-field success, but it does serve as a reminder for athletes to have their own, “go-to” thoughts when in the heat of a battle. The image doesn’t have to be funny (like the big purple gorilla), but it should be something positive. The idea is for the new image to immediately change mood state and attitude from fearful to positive.The reality is that the image an athlete chooses may be nothing more than a thought diversion — the precise idea behind this sport psychology technique.