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Lock IN!

Focus is a critical aspect of any athlete's performance. Maintaining focus for an extended period is essential, particularly in a lengthy baseball season that can be grueling and demanding. In this blog, we will explore the importance of focus and compare it to a lengthy baseball season.

What is Focus?

Focus is the ability to concentrate on a particular task or activity while ignoring distractions. It is an essential component of an athlete's mental game and can have a significant impact on their performance. When an athlete can focus on their task at hand, they are more likely to perform at their best, achieve their goals, and stay motivated. Today we tell others to “lock in,” so what does lock in mean? The phase is reminding others to tune everything out and literally focus ONLY on the task. Let’s examine why focusing, or locking in, is crucial for athletes.

Why is Focus Important in Baseball?

Baseball is a game of focus and concentration. Athletes must remain focused throughout the game, from the first pitch to the last out. In a lengthy baseball season, players must be able to maintain their focus over an extended period. Distractions are commonplace, from injuries, weather changes, and team dynamics, which can all impact an athlete's performance.

A pitcher can give up 3 runs in the first inning and begin to lose focus as they attempt to finish the inning. The pitcher will have plenty of distracting thoughts clouding the mind and limiting their ability to focus on the next pitch:

“I don’t have velocity today.”

“My accuracy is off.”

“There’s no movement on my curve.”

“Coach is going to pull me.”

Just ONE of these thoughts floating in the pitcher's head will knock them out of focus. Coincidentally, it only takes ONE thought to lock them back in and narrow the focus:

“Explode off the rubber.”

“Fix my eyes on my target.”

“Snap my wrist”

“One perfect pitch.”

Mentally preparing ourselves to perform is just one step in getting us to ensure laser focus!

How Can Athletes Improve Their Focus?

There are many ways athletes can improve their focus, both on and off the field. Here are some tips to help athletes maintain focus during a lengthy baseball season:

  1. Set Goals: Setting BIG goals can help athletes remain focused on what they want to achieve. A big goal forces you to focus because you know there is little room for error or laziness when it comes to achieving great things over good things.

  2. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a form of meditation that can help athletes focus on the present moment and avoid distractions.

  3. Train Your Mind: Athletes can train their minds to remain focused through visualization, mental rehearsal, and other techniques. I love giving players a set of mental cues that help them mentally prepare to execute, as listed above.

  4. Practice Mental Toughness: Mental toughness is the ability to remain focused, even in the face of adversity. Athletes can improve their mental toughness through regular situational training. Put your players and team under pressure in practice and have them repeat the same pressures until they no longer feel the pressure. If a player is placed in a stressful situation in a game, they are more likely to succeed in that moment if they recognize the situation from practice and remember what they need to execute in order to win in that moment.

  5. Take Breaks: Taking breaks during the season can help athletes recharge and refocus. I don’t mean take days off, I mean take breaks from the typical practice. Throw in a fun practice, or scrimmage. Have your coaches invent fun games for the players to compete in during practice to reinforce their skills and cooperation, but they’re more entertaining and engaging than your daily drills.

Comparing Focus to a Lengthy Baseball Season

A lengthy baseball season can be grueling and demanding. It requires athletes to maintain their focus over an extended period while dealing with injuries, team dynamics, and other distractions. Similarly, focus is a critical aspect of an athlete's performance that requires consistent effort and attention. Just as a baseball season requires endurance and persistence, focus requires athletes to remain committed and disciplined to achieve their goals.

In conclusion, focus is an essential aspect of an athlete's performance, particularly in a lengthy baseball season. Athletes must maintain their focus throughout the game, from the first pitch to the last out. By setting BIG goals, practicing mindfulness, training their minds, practicing mental toughness, and taking breaks, athletes can improve their focus and achieve their goals. Throughout a baseball season, focus is essential, and athletes must remain committed and disciplined to achieve success.

As a coach, it’s your responsibility to teach them how to focus, how to maintain focus and how to lock in when adversity strikes.

For more ideas on how to maximize focus within your team, email me at ramsey@thewintality to schedule a call or workshop.

Now go WIN the day!

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