Tag Archives: focus

Think Like an Athlete

5 May

article1[1]Being an athlete is about more than just strength, speed, agility, 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?

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Prepare Like You Intend to Perform

15 Nov

628x471[1]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 watching another one of my daughter’s — and our high school girls varsity basketball team’s — scrimmages yesterday evening.  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 last night’s 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

25 Oct

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?

Train Your Brain, Improve Your Focus

14 Jun

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?

Everyone Wants to Win, But Not Everyone Wants to Prepare

19 Nov

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.” – Zig Ziglar

Winning is not an accident.  Neither, for that matter, is success.  Look at a winner and you see the surface, the “tip of the iceberg.”  What you don’t usually see is the effort that was responsible for, and contributed to, the end result.

Winning, at every level, is the result of preparation.  Work ethic, achievement drive, innovation, communication, and teamwork are essential components of the process.  Preparation is the key to success – winning – in sports, school, in business, and in life.  Success typically comes to those who are best prepared.

Physical Preparation is training the body for successful performance.  “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.” – Unknown

  • Sport-specific skill development – blocking and tackling (football); ball-handling and shooting (basketball); hitting and fielding (baseball); etc.
  • Strength and conditioning – improve performance by developing strength, speed, agility, and athleticism.
  • Nutrition – fuel your body for optimum performance.
  • Sleep – proper rest is essential to the recovery process.

Mental Preparation is training the mind for successful performance.  “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

  • Goal setting – motivate yourself with realistic, challenging goals.
  • Visualization – use your imagination to train by creating a mental image of success.
  • Focus on execution and practice to eliminate distractions.
  • Have Confidence in your skills and prepare to cope with adversity.
  • Commit yourself to your game plan or strategy.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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