Why can’t I just focus?

Why can’t I just focus?

Achieve Better Focus Through Applied Sports Psychology

We all know that the mental part of our game is important; coaches and athletes usually tell me about 75 percent of their game is mental. Yet, when they run into problems like the ones I just mentioned, they’re often incapable of solving them. Mental skills training, or “mind practice,” is a woefully underutilized component of athletic performance.

I think, therefore I WIN

I think, therefore I WIN

Several years ago I worked with a tennis player, Jenna, who was having some issues with her performance in matches. She was frustrated because even if she did well during practice, she couldn’t replicate the same level of skill during games. The only solution she knew was to keep pushing herself harder and harder in practice, consequently stressing herself out even more when her competition performance still lagged behind.

Dealing with distractions

Dealing with distractions

Sometimes I wonder how we ever get anything accomplished with the number of enticing distractions that face us every day--checking email, phone messages, the newest episode of the must see TV show, etc. Everyone has their own favorite distractions when they’re in the mood to procrastinate, and it works the same in athletic competition. There are certain common situations that take an athlete’s attention away from important and relevant performance cues.

Learn to think in questions

Learn to think in questions

Our thought process usually takes the form of questions and answers. Even if the questions aren’t obvious, we still use them to guide our thinking. One answer leads to another question, and that to another answer, and your thoughts follow this path in a specific direction. This is why The WIN Method is based on asking questions-- it’s the simplest and most natural format for your mind.

Taking responsibility for your thoughts

Taking responsibility for your thoughts

OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

When you look at that phrase, which do you see-- opportunity is nowhere? Or opportunity is now here?

I didn’t come up with that catchphrase to test your personality. Rather, it illustrates an important tenet of mental skills training: that our perception of events can affect our response to those events. We may choose to see “opportunity is now here” from a jumble of letters. Likewise, we have the ability to choose how we perceive events. It’s so incredibly important to remember that. Although we may not be able to control many events in our lives, we can control how we think about those events. Those events, contrary to what many think, don’t have to define us.

Dealing with pressure

Dealing with pressure

Recently, I had an athlete call me to help him get ready for a “big match.” He kept referring to it that way. Not a match, the match. The big match. I was curious why he kept giving it so much importance, and I pressed him for more details. He explained that they would be playing the toughest team in the league-- but, if they played well, his team actually had a decent chance at victory. His team had been talking about this match for weeks now, hyping it up, excited at the possibility that they could win this year. The match’s level of performance grew in their minds each day.

Advice for parents of athletes

Advice for parents of athletes

As a parent, you have the potential to tremendously influence your child’s level of confidence and success. On and off the field, what you do and don’t do will carry some weight. I don’t say this to scare you-- it’s also an opportunity to grow closer to your child. You can use The WIN Method as a strategy to help guide your decision-making and make sports fun for your child.