3 Ways to Improve Focus in Sports

It's really important for athletes to be able to concentrate and stay focused in sports. When athletes concentrate, they become totally involved in what they're doling and feel as if time has stopped.

They don't care about what's happening around them, and they aren't easily distracted. They're totally tuned in to what they're doing. This feeling is called being "on" or "in the zone".

Focus is one of the most important mental skills in sports.

Kids who have a hard time focusing, are easily distracted by doubts, negative thoughts, mistakes or other factors like parents and coaches yelling during a game.

Most athletes lose focus or space out during competition. It's important to understand that although you can improve your concentration, it's impossible to be on all the time.

Here are three tips kids can use to improve their focus.

Identify the Cues That Are Relevant to Your Sport

In a basketball game, a player should focus on getting open for his teammates and moving his feet on defense, rather than paying attention to his parents in the stands.

More: How to Help Kids Develop Athletic Skills

What's important for you to focus on in your sport?

Recognize When and Why You Lose Focus

Think about your past performances, how and when did you get distracted? When you heard a parent or coach yelling? When the other team scored? After making a mistake?

Make a list of your most common distractions.

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Create a Strategy to Help You Refocus

This is the most important step in dealing with distractions. Once you have identified the triggers that cause you to lose focus, you can figure out what helps you forget distractions and get back on task.

We recommend using a statement or mantra to help you regain your focus, such as "that's not important, get open for the ball" or "let it go, focus on the next play".

Practice is the best time to work on focus and concentration. You may need to modify your approach before you put it into action in a game.

Every athlete has the power to concentrate in his or her sport. A big part of getting into the zone is learning how to ignore distractions and focus on the right things.

You can apply focus skills to improve your confidence and composure. Some of the best athletes in the world say that focus is the single most important mental skill an athlete can possess.

Learning any new skill takes time. It doesn't matter if you're learning a physical skill or a mental one; you need to practice in order to improve.

More: How to Motivate Your Young Athletes to Get Better

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