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How Can I Improve Concentration in Sports?

Concentration is critical for batting well in baseball.
Experts suggest that pitchers mentally reset after walking off the mound.
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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2014
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There are many techniques to improve concentration in sports, and the effectiveness of each method will vary with different athletes under different circumstances. Many experts recommend living in a way that minimizes personal distractions right before sporting events so that the mind can more easily focus. Some athletes have carefully constructed physical routines that they go through, like the practice swings that golfers take, for example, and these are often specifically designed to improve concentration in sports. Some coaches also recommend that the athlete learn to control his train of thought to avoid any negativity, and many experts urge athletes to focus on the immediate physical situation while avoiding any concerns beyond the moment.

Generally speaking, concentration in sports is almost always important, but certain sporting events have less room for error than others. For example, golf and baseball are both sports where very small physical inconsistencies in movement can have huge impacts on performance. Athletes in both sports may need tremendous concentration to make sure they don't vary their movements much at all, and any mental distraction can potentially cause a total collapse.

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Experts suggest that one of the most powerful methods of improving concentration in sports is to create a physical routine. For example, when baseball players take a practice swing, or pitchers walk off the mound between pitches, they are often resetting their minds and focusing in on the next action they have to perform. These sorts of routines are seen in all kinds of sports, and they're often performed specifically for the purpose of narrowing focus, concentrating, and preparing the body to perform.

One problem that can often cause difficulties with concentration in sports is when athletes focus too much on winning and losing. Usually, athletes can perform better if they focus a little more on the process of exactly what they're trying to do physically, and they might have a lot of difficulty concentrating if they get nervous about the ultimate outcome. In fact, most thoughts that cause intense emotions during an athletic performance can be a distraction, and this would include any personal issues that might pull the athlete’s thoughts away from his task.

In order to avoid personal distractions, some athletes completely change their home life during the time before a performance. For example, some boxers leave their family and seclude themselves in a training camp while preparing for a match. Other athletes may change the way they eat or sleep leading up to an event, and many withdraw from any external issues that might cause a distraction.

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Discuss this Article

summing
Post 3

Superstition is a big part of the psychology of baseball. And I think it helps players to improve their concentration.

Superstition is basically just an arbitrary routine. You do the same thing over and over again because you believe, for no verifiable reason, that it helps your performance. This feeling of comfort and familiarity can help a player to block out the outside world and concentrate only on the game. It gives them a feeling of safety and security that is very calming.

jonrss
Post 2

There are sports psychology programs that claim to be able to help athletes improve their concentration. I am skeptical. I know some people who swear by it and others who seemed to have gotten worse after their visit.

Does anyone out there have any experience working with a sports psychologist? What kind of results did you get? Is it worth it for me to spend my time and money?

tigers88
Post 1

Concentration can be one of the most difficult athletic abilities to cultivate. I remember once reading a magazine article about sports training. It said that most sports skills can be learned by just abut anyone if they dedicate the time. You can learn to throw a football or shoot a free throw or bend a soccer kick.

The article said that the hardest skill for the layman to learn is to see the ball as it leaves the pitchers hand and travels towards home plate. This is basically an act of concentration. You have to stare at a tiny little ball traveling towards you at 95 miles per hour. This takes a lifetime to learn and even the best hitters struggle with it.

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