Before any competition, be it a match, a marathon or a swim, athletes must have full concentration in what he or she is going to do to be able to give his or her best performance. It gives athletes the ability to pay attention to relevant cues in the environment and to maintain focus.
Concentration is one of the 4Cs. There are confidence, control, commitment and concentration. In a research done by Neffer in 1976, shows that in sports there are two dimensions to concentration. They are width and direction.
An athlete would have a broad focus by paying attention to many things and gather a lot of information whereas a narrow focus would give him fewer things to pay attention to and lesser source of information.
An athlete would focus externally on things as well as information that are happening outside whereas internally, he would be attending to things as well as information that are happening inside of him.
Understanding Your Distractions
Distractions will make you focus part or all of your attention elsewhere when you are supposed to have 110% of that concentration in your game. Some of the common distractions are anxiety, fatigue, weather, mistakes, coach, opponent, negative thoughts etc.
To counter this, some athletes develop a routine the night before, the morning, pre competition, competition and post competition. When the routine is appropriately structured, they proved to be a useful aid to concentration.
Some Exercises to Increase Your Power of Concentration
1. Have 20 pictures in front of you that you have never seen before. Set the timer to one minute before the pictures around. You have to list down the objects that you can remember from the pictures.
2. You could list down the relevant cues in your sport. List down the important moments in your sport where you need to concentrate to achieve a good performance. You could also state the relevant cues that you need more focus on during that important moment. For example, before taking a free throw while playing basketball, you should focus on the feet shoulder wide apart, hands position, body alignment etc.
3. Take an object, for example, a ball. Focus all your attention on that ball for 30 seconds. Do it for three times and record how long you manage to focus on the ball without being distracted.
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