Tag Archive for 'focus'

Be focused in high jumping

Un allenatore di salto in alto mi chiede come sia possibile migliorare la concentrazione nell’esecuzione di questa specialità. Personalmente non ho esperienza diretta di collaborazione con saltatori, comunque provo a fornire alcune idee che chiunque potrebbe seguire e poi valutarne l’efficacia.
Il salto in alto è una prove che si conclude nell’arco di pochi secondi e il cui inizio è determinato dall’atleta nei limiti di tempo determinati dalle regole del suo sport. Pertanto, è necessario che al momento dell’avvio della prestazione il movimento appaia fluido ed efficace e in quegli istanti la mente del saltatore dovrebbe essere libera da ogni pensiero ma lasciarsi portare in modo apparentemente spontaneo dal susseguirsi dell’azione motoria.
Raggiungere questa condizione mentale non è semplice e richiede un allenamento specifico. Nell’allenamento dovrebbero esserci almeno due livelli. Il primo riguarda l’apprendimento e l’ottimizzazione della tecnica di salto, si può ripetere il numero di volte necessario e alla fine si è imparato a saltare. Il secondo livello riguarda la gestione della tecnica nei momenti in cui le emozioni sembrano spaccare il cuore mentre invece si dovrebbe essere totalmente concentrati sul salto da eseguire.
Suggerisco di allenare il timing dell’azione, il saltatore ha un minuto a disposizione per effettuare il salto. Di conseguenza così come nel servizio nel tennis, nei lanci nel baseball o nel tiro a volo, anche chi salta deve avere una routine che rispecchia quel tempo o un tempo inferiore se l’atleta è pronto con un timing di 45 secondi anziché di 60 secondi. Importante che quel tempo sia sempre lo stesso e quindi il tempo scelto diventa una misura del suo livello di concentrazione e della sua fiducia.
Stabilita la routine e il timing (la sua durata) il saltatore si deve allenare a rispettarla e a eseguirla correttamente. Può svolgere esercizi a secco, senza l’esecuzione reale, allenando solo la routine e dandosi al termine di ognuno una valutazione di quanto sarebbe stato pronto a eseguire un salto. Ovvio che se la valutazione è minore di 8 su 10, qualcosa non è andato bene nella sua preparazione e quindi deve lavorare per renderla più intensa.
Questo lavoro richiede passione e consapevolezza  e dovrebbe essere accompagnato da esercizi mentali per allontanare i pensieri che ostacolano la prestazione quali essi siano, anche se  positivi (ad esempio: “Oggi mi sento proprio bene”) sono ugualmente distraenti dalla concentrazione sul compito.
Si potrebbe dire molto di più articolando un vero e proprio programma di allenamento della concentrazione nel salto in alto. Magari un giorno con qualche atleta che lo desiderasse si potrà farlo.

Be focused to be tough

... the most important aspect of mental toughness in Tennis !

The focus is on the present. To show a consistent focus during all the points means be tough.

Best practice: how to select one sport psychologist for top level

We are at the beginning of a new Olympic period and as sports psychologist I wonder what could be the future of psychological consultancy for Italian athletes aspiring to participate in the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020. It has long been recognized that competitive stress management for top athletes pass through developing the capacity to remain focused on their own performance at key moments of the races and that one way to develop this skill is to use a personalized psychological preparation program adequate  at the level at this competition level.

“At the Workshops, sports psychologists have worked with one-on-one with athletes and coaches on mental skill development. In particular, the theme for the sports psychology component has been “focus.” When elite athletes enter the competitive arena, they are faced with a number of distractions, ranging from external to internal origins. The ability to tune out the distractions and focus on the task at hand is an instrumental part of performance, and for most athletes this ability to focus is not an inherent trait. It is a learned skill that can be taught and practiced. The Workshop format allows for exactly that.”  (Chapman, R. (2011). Sport Performance Workshops: A New Applied Science Model for USA Track & Field, Olympic Coach, 22, 5-8).

To address this situation the Sailing Federation of United Kingdom launched an open competition to hire part-time senior psychologist for follow the sailing team in the coming years. This is a transparent and professional way to find a qualified professional able to play this role.

This is an example of best practice to be disseminated.

Know your-self through your priorities

Show me your priorities and I’ll show you your focus 

Good question to know if we are goal or result oriented the events

The golf concentration

Among the others presentations there will be my communication titled “The golf concentration”

Global fitness: Give yourself the winning advantage

In business, as in sport, the competitive arena is now worldwide. Technical and tactical advantages are rapidly disappearing. With deadlines tighter and pressure to perform increasing, the ability to control concentration and emotions is critical. That’s where we come in. Our performance-enhancement systems combine sport and business psychological research to give you the winning edge. When we use terms like coaching, team building, and competition, we know what we’re talking about.

PAY ATTENTION

Ask yourself what the best business executives have in common with elite athletes and Navy SEALS — the ability to pay attention, to avoid becoming distracted and remain focused on the task at hand. Whether you are a business executive or an athlete — you can’t perform effectively if you can’t concentrate. Mistakes break deals and lose games.

 

THE INVENTORY

EPS has developed the most effective tool in the industry for assessing attentional and interpersonal skills enabling individuals, teams, and companies to perform better. Unlike many other programs, Enhanced Performance Systems employs a performance-based instrument — The Attentional & Interpersonal Style (TAIS) inventory — to gain crucial information useful over a wide range of applications from executive coaching to employee selection and screening.

TAIS inventory is a 144-item, performance-based, self-report inventory. Derived from the Theory of Attentional and Interpersonal Style, TAIS inventory provides a direct link between the concentration and personality characteristics measured and performance. TAIS is designed to increase the ability to understand, predict, and control behavior of highly effective individuals. It is the only inventory of its kind in the world.

GIVE MORE THAN LIP SERVICE TO COACHING

It is no surprise that sports metaphors are widely used in business. Both arenas employ strategic planning, emphasize competition, and demand performance under pressure. TAIS has been used to enhance the performance of some of the world’s most talented athletes and teams. Why is it an advantage to have a background in sport and coaching and an instrument that has been tested in the athletic arena? Because, unlike in business where mistakes may take years to be detected and where improvements are often measured subjectively, in sport, it’s crystal clear what works and what doesn’t. You can’t charm your way to a four-minute mile and money won’t buy you a seventy at Pebble Beach Golf Course.

Mindfulness and marathon

Yesterday there was the webinar titled “The marathon mental coaching” and one question concerned the use of mindfulness in the marathon. If we mean with mindfulness “to allow the present to be as it is and to allow us to be, simply, in this present” (John Teasdale) this mental condition can certainly be useful to the marathon. During the long distance running the present is the stride or the breath. Learn how to listen it’s especially useful in the early pahses and in the end of the marathon, in which for the athletes is important to be aware of the reactions of the body. During the run the mindfulness can be differentiate from non-judgmental acceptance of the present, because the athletes may be aware that they are in trouble. For example, they realize that breathing became too frequent or the heart rate is too high, or even that the stride is becoming increasingly heavy. In these moments, the runners have to go in a state of mind more active, with the aim to reduce or counteract these feelings that are undermining the run.The runners maybe short the stride or slow down a few seconds the speed or shift the attention to other aspects, distracting from these debilitating feelings. Many runners use a dissociative strategy allowing to be focused on anything else but your own body. Paula Radcliffe said that in these moments she counts to 100, knowing that after she counted three times she ran another mile. Every runner has to find solutions during workouts. The marathon training is very challenging and difficult times met are used to find these answers and begin to put them into practice, so as to arrive at the day of the race the runners will be mentally prepared.

The 10 secrets of the excellent performances

  1. Focus only on what you’re going to do.
  2. It’s easy but it’s difficult to be persistent, you must practice
  3. The focus is on the timing of the action and never on the technical issues
  4. The performance takes place in a natural and automatic, not analytical
  5. Delete mistakes returning each time with the mind to the timing of the next action
  6. Deep breath to reduce excessive pressure
  7. Pych-up to increase the useful tension to action
  8. Visualize the  performance to delete doubts and concerns
  9. Have fun and pleasure for what you are doing
  10. Use pauses to restore physical and mental energy for the next action

Teach to think not only the technique

Have a thinking at a time focused on what we’re going to do in a moment is an effective way to be focused on the present. The commitment of every athlete must be targeted to coach this mental ability. While playing a game or compete in any sport, there is nothing but the succession of many present. It is therefore necessary to have at all times just the thought useful to do the best, athletes have to show the ability to choose one thought over another. Otherwise negative stress dominates,  which leads to errors or a bad performance. We hear too often that in sport the mind is the main problem and that it would be better not to have it. Obviously, this sentence is only a testimony of coach or athlete incapacity, because without the mind, it could not be develop the thoughts needed to do the best. So we have not only to teach the sport technique,  but we have to coach to think.

Teach the behaviors that enhance the technique

It seems to me that the sport technique is taught well to young people but coaches doesn’t spend a lot of time in teaching behaviors which are best to be able to use this technique. For example, in tennis once a young  has learned to serve, he must practice it in the best way the most number of times. At this point,  at the young player is no longer devoted as much attention because she has acquired the technical gesture. My opionion is that the tennis player despite having acquired this skill, he is not yet able to reproduce it. In the best case she is scrupulous, some will try to stay focused before performing the gesture and then serve. I believe that in this way the tennis player cannot know if  he’s ready to serve, while most probably do it in a mechanical way. Moreover, in this game neutral situation will never come; because the player will always serve after a game exchange and a pause of a few tens of seconds. As we all know, what you think in those seconds is important in determining how you are preparing for the service. The effectiveness of the service stems as much from the way the tennis player spends the seconds prior to the execution. The question is, how often did you train to positively prepare youryelves  to the service and, only later, to serve? You can have the best technique , but if the mind says No or is distracted , the tennis player will have a problem: he does not know how to solve it because he never practiced in this way.