For athletes, finding focus can be the difference between achieving your big goals, and falling short. Use these five simple strategies to help to get focused, stay focused and re-focus!
Know exactly what you need to accomplish during the day, write it down and post it in a visible place where you can read your daily goals to yourself first thing in the morning. Making this part of your routine will ensure you know exactly what you need to accomplish each day.
This seems simple but by writing down your daily goals, you make it easy to ignore any distractions that might come up.
This can really help focus what you need to do, and identify any little small steps that you can be taking to help you reach your bigger goals.
To help you discover and practice a solid daily routine, download our Student Athlete’s Guide to Setting and Achieving Epic Goals. This is a 12 page booklet that includes 5 goal setting worksheets. Use the daily goals worksheet to help you identify and track your daily routine.
Self-motivation is such a powerful tool to possess ! It means you have the ability to look at what you want to accomplish, and take the steps necessary to accomplish it. It means you can keep yourself on track, without other people holding your hand and walking you step by step.
Focus is so important to a student athlete, especially one whose big performance goal is to play at university, internationally, or even at the pro level. It is important to pay attention to your own body, mind and energy levels and start to determine what actions you can take to get you “in the zone”
Sport psychologist Robert M. Nideffer describes getting into “the zone” as a shifting of focus from external or environmental to an internal thoughts and feelings. As this shift occurs your perception of the passage of time is altered. So that when attention is focused almost exclusively on the environment time appears to slow down. Athletes in the zone will tell you that things happen in slow motion and as a result feel as if they have more control and more time to react.
In other words, “The Zone” is that state of being where you feel like you can do no wrong. All the bounces of your way, your anticipation is bang on, you are always in the right place at the right time and absolutely no one can beat you. You are invincible!
But how do you get into the zone? Getting into the zone is about finding ultimate focus, being able to tune out external distractions and focussing completely on what your job is. Some people focus best in complete silence, others need noise and activity. Some athletes need to listen to loud music and really get pumped up before competition, some need to separate themselves from the team and have a few minutes of quiet to prepare themselves. Figure out what gets you ready to perform and make sure to give yourself time to reach that optimal performance level before your competition (or test, or activity) starts.
What gets you into The Zone? Share your routine with us in the comments!
Each athlete is different. Do you need loud music? locker room dance parties? Action and noise? Or do you need a quiet moment to yourself? Self reflection, meditation or breathing? Do you use routine or superstitions to get you there? We want to know!
How many times have you heard it said, what you believe you can achieve. The talk that happens inside your head can be the difference between falling short of your goal, and succeeding. The voice inside your head should never be negative, never speak to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t speak to your team mates or friends. “stay with it” “I can do this” “I’ve done harder things than this” “I will beat this” “I can do it!”
Athletes that have a positive mindset (also known as a growth mindset) are able to exist in a constant state of learning. Failures become not “FAILURES” but opportunities to learn and grow that will ultimately make you a better athlete and a better competitor. Don’t get down on yourself, or get caught into a cycle of expecting perfectionism – it is too easy to get into thinking “I can’t” when that happens. Read this post about re-thinking your relationship to failure to help with strategies to get you into thinking that failure is positive.
How is my performance?
Am I getting done what I need to be getting done?
Do I want to change this?
Identify what is and is not going well If so – How do I change it?
Identify a mistake recovery ritual that works for you and use it!
Hands down the biggest universal mistake that athletes make, is dwelling on their mistakes. The very best thing you can do in competition, after making a mistake is to immediately forget about it and move on so that you can focus on what you have to do immediately. You can’t let failures or mistakes in competition affect your continued performance, determination or motivation.
But how do you forget about huge mistakes in the middle of a competition?
This is where a mistake recovery ritual is beneficial. A recovery ritual can help you to refocus quickly on what is really improtant. Recovery rituals are very personal, it could be a phrase you say to yourself, or an action you take that symbolizes the end of what just happened and the start of the next focus. These should take only a few moments of your time but should switch focus back to the job at hand, settle down any feelings of anxiety and eliminate any negative self talk that might be in your head.
A mistake recovery ritual can be as simple as saying to yourself “erase that” or tapping your stick on the ground 3 times, or picking some grass and throwing it over your shoulder. Anything that will symbolize to you that “it’s over, on to the next job!”