When you see the pros keeping their cool and drilling game winners, it’s tempting to believe being the best is as easy as they make it look. In reality, that one game-changing play is the result of hours of training — the kind of driven, uninterrupted training that comes from being completely focused from the first rep to the last. It’s not easy to do; there are limitless distractions in your life, but the key is to commit to your goal and train past your distractions. We’ll help you get better at it.
Here are a few ways to increase your mental focus:
Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
This is a no-brainer, yet many athletes don’t get enough. This should be the first thing you alter when trying to achieve better focus. Exactly how much sleep you need varies by person, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends teenagers and young adults get between seven and ten hours a night. Set a bedtime for yourself, stick with it, and start reaping the benefits of a more rested mind and body, like more energy, faster reaction times, and increased stamina.
Have A Balanced, Healthy Diet
To reach its potential, your body needs proper fuel. Lack of nutrients and dehydration can make you feel sluggish, uncomfortable, and distracted, all of which detract from your performance. Make sure you’re providing your body with a balance of carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals as well as drinking the recommended 11 to 15 cups of water a day, increasing this after training sessions and competitions.
Clear Your Mind
This is pivotal to focus, but can be a little tricky. If you’re shooting free-throws, but all you can think about is the math test you bombed earlier that day, you obviously won’t be performing your best. Top professional athletes often use meditation, music, yoga, or even a quick nap to help clear their mind before games. Try implementing a meditative activity in your routine and see how it affects your focus.
Visualize Your Victory
It’s all about perception. Self-doubt and negative thoughts can ruin your confidence, motivation, and especially focus. Instead of self-sabotage, try building yourself up. Imagine the moments leading up to the game’s turning point. How will you react? Visualizing yourself hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth can make a big difference in how you play.
You Have To Want It
Whether in a workout, practice session, or competition, if you don’t have passion for the task at hand, you won’t be able to truly focus. Heart is the most crucial element of the game, because when you want it more than anyone else, you work harder than anyone else. That means being the first in the gym and the last to leave, having the physical and mental discipline to put your team above yourself. Because when you sacrifice everything, nothing can stop you.
Check out this video and show the world how you stay focused by sharing a photo with #TrainPastDistractions. Your photo could be featured on eastbay.com.
There is no off-switch to your game. You’re an elite athlete because of your unrivaled intensity and determination. Your peers give in to distractions and take off days, but you stand out from the pack because you’re always locked in. No matter where you are or who you’re with, you are thinking about how you can get better at your sport. That same dedication is what separates Eastbay from our competition. We are only focused on one thing: providing you with the largest selection of pro-grade athletic gear available.
No matter where you are, your mind is on the pitch. You have #OneThoughtWin.
You dominate on the gridiron because of your drive. While your opponent is focused on other things, you have #OneThoughtWin.
You stand out because while other runners are distracted, you’re only thinking about your next race. You have #OneThoughtWin.
Your next serve. Your next block. While others get distracted, you’re only focused on the match. You have #OneThoughtWin.
“When you bring your full attention to each moment, a day is a complete lifetime of living and learning.” —Mark Divine, The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed
Many practices and workouts are dedicated to physical training or position-specific skills. The ability to relax and perform at the highest level is directly related to an athlete’s mental approach. So, how can baseball and softball players establish and maintain mental focus?
In baseball and softball, mental focus is the key to success at all stages. The team that has the better focus and mental approach usually wins. Paraphrasing the Mark Divine quote above, “When you bring your full attention to each pitch, a game is a complete lifetime of living and learning.”
Coaches must be able to teach players what should happen during each pitch and game situation. Being physically prepared and mentally focused is the key to winning at all levels. This ability comes from years of practice and learning. Being physically prepared and mentally focused is the key to winning at all levels.
How can you be mentally prepared?
Set daily goals (e.g., work on hitting off-speed pitches, psych out dirt-ball reads on the bases, improve your arm strength).
Stay focused on the process (keep a journal of your daily goals and how you accomplish them).
Maintain your focus each day.
Establish a pre-game routine that allows you to be physically and mentally prepared to complete the day’s objectives.
Experience through practice and competition leads to knowledge, which gives you the confidence and power to be mentally ready for any situation.
What can batters do to get mentally prepared to hit?
While in the dugout, look through the hole in the top of your batting helmet and focus on the opposing pitcher to pick up his or her release point. Determine if he or she is tipping pitches and gain all the information you can.
Establish a routine before each at-bat that allows you to focus (e.g., breathing, focusing your eyes where you want to hit the ball, singing your favorite song, etc.)
Have a plan based on the score, number of outs, the inning, and any special situation.
Hank Aaron said he was able to consistently hit the baseball because of his visualization and focus. Aaron is a great example of how mental preparation and visualization can lead to powerful results.
Now that know the keys to increasing your focus on the diamond, head over to Eastbay to get the latest game-changing baseball cleats, clothing, and gear and Prepare To Win.