Tag Archives: focus

Think Like an Athlete

9 Oct

Being an athlete is about more than just strengthspeedagility, and athleticism (although the development of those characteristics is certainly important).  It even goes beyond the genetics and “natural” ability with which you have been blessed.

Being an athlete is also about how you think; how you practice; how you talk (especially self-talk); how you act; and how you dream.

Being an athlete is about setting challenging goals — and working hard toward the achievement of those goals, every day.

Being an athlete is about realizing your long-term objectives and having the discipline to stick to your plan.

Being an athlete means being aware that there will be obstacles along the way, and having the mental toughness to overcome adversity.

Being an athlete involves visualizing yourself succeeding, and positive, encouraging self-talk, along the way.

Being an athlete requires a commitment to constantly improve upon your performance.

Being an athlete means focusing on improving you, and not comparing yourself with others — being better today than you were yesterday.

Here’s a great read from Huffington Post titled, 8 Ways to Think Like an Athlete.  The article does a nice job of expanding upon some of the thoughts discussed above.  If you are — or aspire to be — an athlete, it’s a “must-read.”  And it doesn’t just apply to athletics.  The same principles can be applied to school, work, and life.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Advertisements

Prepare Like You Intend to Perform

10 Mar

A few days ago, I published a blog post titled, You’ve Got to Practice at Game Speed.  Today, I’d like to address practice and preparation from a different angle — specifically, the athlete’s focus and intensity level.

I must admit, once again, my thoughts and observations are based on having watched my daughter’s — and our high school girls varsity basketball team’s — scrimmages.  And my comments don’t just apply to our team.  To some extent, I saw this in each and every one of the five teams that participated in the scrimmage.

Some of the pre-game warm-up activity was just awful.  I’m not referring to the drills, themselves, but rather the effort with which the drills were performed.  Many of the players’ focus and intensity level was variable, at best.  Some of them didn’t even look like they took it seriously — half-hearted passing, shooting, and overall execution.  Moving through the drills at half-speed.  Laughing, joking, and fooling around.  Do you really believe there’s no carry-over into the game?  I’m not suggesting that the student-athlete experience shouldn’t be enjoyable.  But once you lace them up and step on the court, it’s time to focus your attention and effort on the task at hand.

Representing your high school on the basketball court is a privilege… not an entitlement!  Same goes for any other sport at any other level.  Show that you respect the game, your teammates, your coaches — and yourself — by taking your decision and commitment to play a little more seriously.

The same principle applies to school, work… and life.  How do you study for your upcoming exam?  How do you prepare for your business presentation?  Are you setting yourself up for success, or sabotaging your own efforts?

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Mental Preparation is the Key

8 Feb

joey-votto-smi2[1]Every athlete knows that physical tools are important.  Strength, speed, agility, and athleticismand the commitment to the development of each — are integral to success in virtually every sport.  Factor in sport-specific skill development (for example, basketball ball-handling and shooting), and you’re on your way to building a strong foundation.

Equally important is your mind, and its ability to drive your body.  Mental preparation, focus, and confidence are all implicated in your success and attainment of your goals.  Generally, your limits will be those you set for yourself.  Here are some tips to improve performance and push through those self-imposed limitations through mental preparation.

Have a plan

I’m always surprised by athletes, especially at the higher levels, who “just play.”  That is, they don’t really have a game plan.  Situational preparation leads to successful execution.  A baseball player should go to the plate with a plan, depending on the score, inning, opposing tendencies and trends, number of outs, baserunners, pitch type and location, etc.  Having a plan — and working your plan — will help build your confidence, which fuels a positive mindset.

Stay positive

A negative attitude and focus won’t help you or your team.  When I train athletes, we don’t talk about the negative.  Sure, there will be times when you face less-than-desirable circumstances and conditions (inclement weather, an injured teammate, etc.)  Your attitude is contagious and it will impact the people around you.  Do your best to maintain positive words and body language.  Expect to win.

Be adaptable

There’s a lot you can control, but not everything.  You have to practice being adaptable, and believe you can do anything.  Train yourself to overcome obstacles, and not concede to them.  For example, a basketball point guard should anticipate the defense taking away his/her strong hand, and should practice and develop capable ball-handling skills with his/her “off” hand.

Focus on small goals

Rather than focusing on winning the game, direct your focus on each individual at-bat or offensive possession.  Your goal should be to win each inning, quarter, or period.  Successful attainment of each small goal will lead you, ultimately, to your larger goal.  Looking too far ahead to the outcome can dilute your focus.  Do your best to impact the present and the future will take care of itself.

Talk to yourself

Positive self-talk is a strong motivator.  External motivation is great, but it’s also inconsistent — you can’t always count on others to motivate you.  Find quotes, sayings, or slogans that motivate you.  Visualize yourself succeeding (and celebrating).  Learn to communicate with yourself in a way that is positive and motivating.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Remember Why You’re There

21 Sep

img-about-21As my daughter – and fourth of four children – begins her freshman year of college, I resume my familiar place on my soapbox to impart a simple message:

REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE THERE

Enjoy the college experience.  Make new friends.  Participate in activities.  Join clubs and organizations.  Play sports and be active.

And, most importantly, maintain your focus and purpose.  Work hard to be the best – academically – you can be.

This same principle applies to other areas.

When you’re at basketball (or any other sport) practice, have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of your teammates.

And remember the reason you’re there is to improve your team’s performance, and further develop your sport-specific skills.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the experience along the way, as long as you don’t allow it to interfere with the work that needs to be done to reach your goal.

Be diligent and disciplined about the process, and don’t lose sight of the reason you’re there.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Train Your Brain, Improve Your Focus

3 Aug

mental-training[1]The digital media era is supposed to have made us smarter and more efficient.  In reality, it has probably had the opposite effect, fragmenting our attention and making it more difficult to focus on the task at hand.  Here are some suggestions to help improve your effectiveness, efficiency, focus, and productivity:

  • Focus on what you’re doing.  Stop multi-tasking — when you do, every level of performance is lowered.  Your brain wasn’t wired to do two things at once.  When you do one thing at a time, you increase brainpower and energy.
  • Prioritize.  Focus on just a few critical things per day.  Forget about the to-do list approach, where you address the quickest, easiest things first.  Tackle the two items that require the most energy and don’t allow yourself to be disrupted during that time.
  • Avoid lengthy email sessions.  You’re better off dealing with most issues with a quick phone call or in-person conversation rather than a lengthy email exchange. If that’s not possible, at least limit email to three times a day or the last 10 minutes of every hour.
  • Interval training.  I’ve written a bunch about interval training for athletes.  Just as endurance athletes understand the importance of alternating between hard bouts of work and periods of lesser activity or rest, why not apply this concept to the brain?  Get started by focusing for just 15 minutes on one task. Don’t allow anything to distract you during that time frame. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Clear your mind.  I’m not referring to meditation.  What I am talking about is temporarily “unplugging” all the digital distractions — stepping away from the computer, cell phone… even the car radio.  Doing this for even a few minutes can help you think more deeply and change your brain for the better.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Book Recommendation: The Energy Bus

11 May

51kLln+uylL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_[1]If you have not already read it, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon (I found a new, hardback copy for about $10 at Amazon).  It’s a quick, easy read about the kind of positive energy that consists of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and spirit.

The Energy Bus provides principles to build a positive, high-performing team for businesses, organizations, churches, schools, sports teams, and families.

“Everyone faces challenges.  And every person, organization, company, and team has to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success.”

Told as a story (about negative, down-on-his-luck George, and a unique bus driver named Joy), The Energy Bus “reveals 10 ‘secrets’ for approaching life and work with a positive, forward-thinking attitude that leads to true accomplishment — at work and at home.”

10 RULES FOR THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE

  1. You’re the driver of your bus.
  2. Desire, vision, and focus move your bus in the right direction.
  3. Fuel your ride with positive energy.
  4. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.
  5. Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus.
  6. Post a sign that says NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED on your bus.
  7. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride.
  8. Love your passengers.
  9. Drive with purpose.
  10. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

Happy reading!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Keep Your Foot on the Gas

30 Mar

510-149[1]Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton

Keep Moving Forward

Keeping your foot on the gas pedal doesn’t mean that you have to “floor it” at all times.

Whether your journey is taking you “uphill” or “downhill,” at any given time, the key is to maintain your progress.  Sustain your forward momentum.

Maintain Your Focus

It’s easy to focus when the sun is shining.  We have a tendency to get distracted on cloudy, rainy days.

A little advance planning and preparation goes a long way toward keeping you on task.

Don’t Quit

Some days are going to be easier than others.  Some days aren’t.  There will be adversity and there will be obstacles.

There will be days when you want go give up.  Don’t.

Coasting = Complacency

Avoid the temptation to coast.  Sometimes, it’s easy to be content with the progress you’re making and ride your momentum.  Maybe you feel that you’ve earned and deserve a day off (and, you’re probably right).  That’s an easy way to stall your progress.

Try to do something every day — no matter how small it may seem — that’s consistent with forward progress toward your goal.

Celebrate Success

You should be happy about — and proud of — your accomplishment, achievement, and success, including the incremental victories on the path to your goal.

And keep your foot on the gas.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Eat Some Brain Food

16 Dec

foodsbrainhealth[1]Studies show that diet affects many different aspects of cognition, including memory and thinking ability.  According to researchers, a healthy diet may reduce the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

Brain food is real: Study shows how diet affects memory as we age

Eating well is good for your mental as well as your physical health. The brain requires nutrients just like your heart, lungs, or muscles do. Here is a resource that provides a list of foods that may be particularly important to keep our grey matter happy:

10 foods to boost your brainpower

Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill (yet) to bring us back to the height of our cognitive powers, but there are some foods that have been shown to improve brain function, protect against age-associated cognitive decline, and encourage focus and clarity.  Here’s another informative resource from Huffington Post:

12 Superfoods To Boost Your Brainpower

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Find Your Groove

6 Nov

Kids-Lemonade-Stand[1]Find something you do well, and do it.

Find something you love to do, and do it.

Find something you do well and love to do, and you’ve found your groove; you’ve got it made.

Easier said than done… right?

How, exactly, do you find your groove?

How do you find “IT?”

Here are some thoughts:

  • Experiment with it
  • Learn everything you can about it
  • Be comfortable with it
  • Be enthusiastic and passionate about it
  • Have fun with it
  • Find balance
  • Take a break, once in a while
  • Believe in yourself and your abilities
  • Be positive and optimistic — expect success
  • Bounce back from setbacks
  • Appreciate what you have
  • When it’s time to be productive… be productive
  • Focus — don’t try to multi-task
  • Enjoy the journey
  • Celebrate small victories — something is better than nothing
  • Be thankful

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Your Goals Won’t Achieve Themselves

27 Feb

Man on top of mountain.Question 1: What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go?

Question 2: What are you doing to make that happen?

You can’t wait and wish for something to happen.  If it’s important to you — something you really want — you’ve got to make it happen.

Don’t wait for inspiration or motivation, just get moving and take a step in the direction of your desired goal.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but action precedes motivation.

Sometimes, getting started (and staying on course) may seem a little scary, but you’ll be surprised by how much the fear and apprehension subside once you get going.  Once you take action — even the smallest step — toward your goal, you will feel empowered, energized, and motivated.

  • Focus on your dreams and goals, and don’t allow yourself to be discouraged or distracted by short-term adversity and obstacles.
  • Stay determined, even when things aren’t going as planned.
  • Take calculated risks; understand that goal achievement will require change, in some way.
  • Engage in positive self-talk, and surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.
  • Be accountable for your daily actions.

Perhaps your goal requires some assistance along the way.  There are lots of willing and qualified people who can get you started and provide guidance on your journey.  No matter what your goal, identify and acquire the resources you need — equipment, education, assistance, or apparel — to achieve it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: