3 FACTORS THAT IMPACT YOUR ATTENTION AND PERFORMANCE
As you have learned in other posts, your attention is critical as an athlete. Its impact is far-reaching. Your performance is greatly determined by your attentional skill set and how well you have trained it to be in the present moment. A big reason it is essential to train your attention is to be able to help you when things like stress, threat, or poor mood impact your ability to be in the present moment. These three things can easily pull you away from the present moment, and if you don't have the mental muscle to notice when it is happening and direct your attention back to the present moment, your performance will go down. Let's go over each of them.
1. Stress or high demand
Stress is not good or bad. It usually means distress when we talk about it and its impact on attention. When the stress has become too great and more than you can handle, for many high performers, it doesn't have to feel like stress to impact attention. It can be high demand, such as what you would find in preseason training.
This can be real, as seen in extreme sports, when there is a real threat to physical safety, or can be seen in less apparent situations when dealing with expectations. Anything that threatens a core part of your identity can be seen as a threat. So if you identify as a "good athlete" every time you walk into your performance, that could be threatened if you don't live up to expectations.
3. Poor mood
It doesn't take much to impact your mood. You can look at an upsetting image. What information you take in, from the music you listen to to the TV shows your watch or who you talk to, can impact your mood. Your mood can affect how well you pay attention to the right thing at the right moment, impacting your performance.
Whether it is stress, threat, or poor mood, your attention is impacted because they take you away from the present moment and monopolize your attention. This then drains your attentional resource. Your attention is finite, you only have so much of it, and if it gets drained, it makes it harder to direct at will and be present, which is what you need to be able to do if you want to get "into the zone."
If you want to learn how best to train your attention to better deal with the three factors that impact your attention, contact us today.
To your success,
About: Kate Allgood is trained in the field of applied sport psychology. She holds two graduate degrees in psychology where she graduated with distinction. She has spent the past 12+ years working one on one with high school, college, Olympic, and professional athletes to help them with their mindset, mental performance and mental skills training. Kate has also been a consultant for professional teams, including the Anaheim Ducks primary minor league affiliate the San Diego Gulls, to help the team and players develop their mental game.