Become More Clutch by Training Your Sports Focus | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Become More Clutch by Training Your Sports Focus

June 13, 2012

Sports Focus

Sports focus is the ability to pay attention to relevant aspects of the game, like the next pitch, while ignoring uncontrollable factors, like a hostile crowd. Sounds easy, right? Although the concept of sports focus is basic, our human emotions complicate things in the heat of competition, making crunch time focus a difficult skill to master.

Focus is often the difference between good and great athletes. If you’re able to quickly let go of the bad things and refocus on immediate goals, you’ll become the clutch player your team is looking for. Develop the skill of mental focus by following the three tips below.

Develop a Pre-Game Routine

Rather than just letting "stuff happen" before games, develop a pre-game routine to take control of your preparation. It should help you get game-ready by focusing both your emotions (cultivating a positive attitude) and your thoughts (thinking about the things you need to do to help your team win). Your routine might include reviewing goals, using imagery to "see" the plays you want to make, or writing a cue word or acronym on your hand to help you focus. For example, "PHT" could stand for "play hard today." The little things you do to prepare your mind before a game can pay off big time in the fourth quarter.

Use an In-Game Reminder

Create a reminder to draw your focus back to the game, something you can use whenever you feel your attention drifting away from things that matter. For example, you might wear a rubber band on your wrist and give yourself a quick snap every time you catch yourself dwelling on the last bad play.

Learn From Your Mistakes

After a game has ended, analyze your mistakes and ask yourself whether poor focus played a part in them. The goal isn’t to make yourself feel bad about losing focus; it's to help you identify what caused it, and to figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

Mental focus is a skill that you won’t learn overnight. Start changing your habits with these three tips, however, and you’ll learn how to do all the little things that lead to a championship.

Chris Stankovich
- Chris Stankovich, Ph.D., is a licensed professional clinical counselor and founder of Advanced Human Performance Systems, a counseling and performance center based in Columbus, Ohio....
Chris Stankovich
- Chris Stankovich, Ph.D., is a licensed professional clinical counselor and founder of Advanced Human Performance Systems, a counseling and performance center based in Columbus, Ohio....
Must See
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,016,243
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 545,280
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,222,559

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros Episode 6: The Combine Views: 1,007
James Harden Resisted Euro-Step Views: 11,715
Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 139,786
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dwyane Wade Jumps Onto a 42" Box
Views: 10,738,584
Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,135
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,020,437
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,328,909
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,250

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Make Goals, Not Deals

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

4 Tips for Building Confidence

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

A Coach Describes What It

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate