Tips for building focus and getting In the Zone
Clinical Psychologist Bryan T. Karazsia, in a recent article, offers some interesting tips for building focus and getting in the zone. Some of his ideas include:
Visualization – Practice seeing performance success in your mind before competition even arrives. That way, when the big moment arrives, you’ve already lived through it.
Breathing – Slow, regular, deep breathing is key for competitors at any level to relax themselves. As clutch moments arrive, breathing work can serve to calm those jittery nerves and upset stomachs.
Cue words – Another useful skill to learn is that of a cue word which prompts us to think of relaxation. Karaszia himself uses “ocean”, while other examples could be “clear”, “calm”, or “breathe”.
Remember, these are all skills to be learned. Just as we hone our bodies for competition, so does the elite athlete hone their mind. Regular practice, with the guidance of a SPINw sport counselor, is the key for developing these techniques.
Of course, for those of you familiar with sport psychology, these ideas probably aren’t new. What may surprise you is that these tips were offered for a narrower niche: hunters. That’s right, Dr. Karaszia’s advice and tips appeared in Peterson’s Bowhunting. Said the doctor, in summary of the benefits of sport psychology: “The fields of clinical and sports psychology have proven that these
[mental training] methods can enhance your performance in the field — so much that the best athletes in the world have paid thousands of dollars to get some advice from a sports psychologist.”
Interesting to see our field expanding into more and more areas….