3 Key Areas of Attention
Your attention as an athlete is enormous. I can't emphasize this enough. Your attention impacts your performance in many ways, and you need to train it. Attention is a skill set like anything else; you need to develop and build it. Your ability to pay attention to the right thing at the right moment, be adaptable and stay in the present moment influence your effectiveness. To not leave it up to chance.
To help you understand the need to train your attention and help you find the best thing to help you do so, I want to go over the three systems that make up your attention. Each system is essential, and each one needs training.
#1 "The Flashlight"
This is your focusing system. The one that helps you concentrate and narrow in on a task. How this operates is like a flashlight. If you step into a dark room and turn on a flashlight, everything within the light beam gets highlighted and everything outside is dimmed and out of sight. Having a highly developed skill of attention means you can point your "flashlight" where you want and need it to be, and when it gets yanked away, which it will, the ability to bring it back, fast! This is what most people think of when they think of attention.
#2 "The Floodlight"
This system is your alerting system. It helps you be in a ready state. Open to what information comes your way, and prepared to deploy your "flashlight." A quarterback dropping back into the pocket will utilize this system as they see the field and assess where to point their "flashlight" to make a play. This system must take in the information needed to focus on what is most important. This system requires you to have the ability to be fully present.
#3 "The Juggler"
This system helps you manage the other two and align your behaviors with your goals. Its job is to help you keep all the "balls" up in the air. The more things you have going on, the more this system is utilized.
When you look to train your attention, you need something that trains all three systems. If not, then you are not fully developing your attentional skills. One of the best ways shown through research is mindfulness meditation.
Training attention is one of the things I work on with clients due to its importance and how impactful it is. If you wish to get help with elevating your performance, contact us today to see how we can help.
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.