What tips do you share with your athletes for maintaining Focus during competition?
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Coach Dave Burrows – Lawn Bowling – Burlington – 40+ Years
“In Lawn Bowls, the focus is the number 1 factor for success. Bowls is not a sport that espouses higher, further, faster or stronger. However, it requires the concentration of a chess player, the flexibility of a gymnast, the “feel” of a table tennis player, and the endurance of a marathon runner. Consequently, I tell my athletes to sleep and eat well and strive to clear their heads of anything outside of delivering a smooth bowl to an exact spot.
Do not think of future or past successes or failures. Do not
under or overestimate your opponent(s). Focus on this bowl, the one in your
hand. After the bowl is delivered, remember that you are only as good as your
next bowl! Above all, strive to be in a good frame of mind, eager to
congratulate your opponent for their good shots. Be exceptionally kind to
yourself. Concentrate fully on each bowl, take your time, and give it your all.
Win or lose, when you do all this, you will feel great about the sport, the effort, and yourself.”
Coach James Geraghty – Soccer – Toronto – 10 Years
“Focus on minute details during the game, eg. if their position is left midfield and not in possession, am I close enough to my left full-back, am I close to the left-center midfielder. Constant surveying of the field and positioning allows my players’ minds to stay activated and faster info processing when possession is won and they have a better idea of where teammates are and focus on opponents subsequently.”
Coach Josh Nichol – Volleyball – Toronto – 10 Years
“For our big competitions like Nationals and Ontario
Championships, Volleyball Canada and the Ontario Volleyball Association do a
great job showcasing our sport. Larger venues are used to allow for several age
groups to compete at one time with vendors and scouts all attending the event.
For our athletes to maintain focus and peak performance we try to limit as many distractions as we can while we are competing. Our big competitions are 3 days long with either a morning wave or afternoon wave schedule. In our competition wave, we challenge ourselves to respect the team and always be focusing on the task and goals we set as a team before the event. One of the best ways we have found to do this is to establish a routine with the athletes, coaches and parents. We always meet in a change room before and after every match. Here we could discuss simple things like scheduling, team meals, rest, logistics etc and discuss more specific things like tactics for our next match or create time for visualization or focused breathing to help regain focus. I believe having a controlled space to relax and regain our focus really helped our athletes manage their emotions and expectations for the event while really focusing on what is in their control. After our matches and final meeting were done for the day the athletes then had free time before our departure time to go watch friends play, go shopping, walk around the venue etc. and really feel a part of the event. It’s important to have a balance during the larger events as long as the athletes can identify why we are here and when its time to compete.
For younger athletes it can be easy to give in to social or mental distractions, the challenge is having them identify when they are being pulled away from our individual and team goals and regain their focus back the competition.”
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