Become More Clutch by Training Your Sports Focus | STACK

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....
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

The purpose of this article is to shed light on some proven, though relatively obscure, ideas about exercising and working out, also, training used by...

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

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

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

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

4 Ways to Turn Mental Toughness Into Physical Toughness

Prepare for Any Situation With Mental Sunscreen

Make Goals, Not Deals

A Coach Describes What It

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Visualize Yourself Winning, and You're Halfway There

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

How Mentally Tough Are You?

Summer Mental Training Plan for Wrestling

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Are You Playing With a Winning Mindset?

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

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

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG