We have all heard the term, ‘focus’ from another source or perhaps we have told ourselves to focus while performing. Believe it or not, focusing or concentrating is not an innate characteristic; rather it is a learned trait.
Focus training is a technique that teaches performers to bring their attention back to the present task if the mind begins to wander to other thoughts, tasks, etc. There are numerous venues to focus training and the technique that will work best will be based on the individual performer or team.
Mindfulness is one of the techniques used to help performers focus and concentrate on the present. Now, before you close down this blog and roll your eyes (like many do), keep reading and understand that mindfulness is not all about yoga and Buddha and finding your inner self, etc. This technique takes practice, yes; however, here are 3 simple exercises to try every day:
1) Focus on your breathe for 1 minute.
a. There are 1440 minutes/day; trust me, there IS time for one minute break ☺
b. Do this before or after practice to center yourself
2) Notice 5 things throughout the day that you take for granted.
a. Ex. Stepping on the field, the court, or playing the sport you love (A high number of people do not have that privilege)
3) Focus all attention on the present task
a. Ex. While you eat dinner, notice the food’s texture, smell, and aesthetic details. Try to depict the different ingredients within the foods.
b.Do this same thing for a piece of your performance
Being mindful for 4-5 minutes a day can help increase happiness, decrease anxiety, and increase performance. It would be helpful to read up on this topic as there are endless directions to take with mindfulness.
• ‘Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming The Present Moment-And Your Life’
• ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’
Susan L. Smalley, Diana Winston
• Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness