Sport psychology is a growing field of study in athletics. To perform at the highest level, athletes not only need a high level of skill and physical fitness, but also the proper mental state. Improving your focus as an athlete can help give you the edge over your competition in ways that staying in the gym a few minutes more may not provide.
Take Care of Your Body
Lack of sleep and poor eating habits decrease concentration and focus. To prevent this, get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night and keep your sleeping schedule consistent. Eat a large, nutrition-filled breakfast each morning, and continue to eat healthy snacks or meals every three to four hours until you go to sleep at night. Keep your diet is high in iron, zinc, and magnesium, or take vitamin supplements that contain those minerals.
Visualization techniques involve imagining the athletic event you are about to partake in, seeing and feeling exactly what will happen during the game. For example, a hockey player will sit with his eyes closed and watch the puck being dropped, see the players skating around the ice, and feel the puck on his stick as he skates towards the opposing goalie. By visualizing the coming event, you will create a sense of focus and concentration that will seem familiar when the event actually starts -- as if you know how it will unfold.
Focus On Yourself
One of the keys to remaining focused in the midst of a sporting event is to only focus on yourself and your performance, rather than any external distractions, including the opposing team. Too many athletes think about the other players and what they are doing, instead of staying focused on their own performance and how to continue to be successful. By keeping your mind tuned to your own performance, you improve your ability to concentrate on the event at hand.
There will always be distractions over the course of any sports game -- such as screaming fans and the actions of opposing players. By ridding yourself of external distractions before each game, you can get into game mode much easier and allow yourself to become mentally prepared for the athletic event. Turn off your phone, put a "do not disturb" sign on your door, turn off your music, and be sure that there are no strong smells around you. This will allow you the silence that aids in pre-game focus and concentration.
Create a Pre-performance Routine
Many athletes find it relaxing and helpful to go through the same routine before each event. Whether it is through the activities you do in the hours before the game, the pre-game meal, the order in which you put your equipment on, or another aspect of the pre-game routine, you'll find that these routines can often keep you focused on the moment, rather than thinking too far ahead in the upcoming event. Staying in the moment is key to ensuring concentration and focus is at the highest level possible when the event starts.
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