The word “focus” is thrown around a lot, but to be consistently focused on the right things takes great awareness and a trained mind. The most locked in players put all their energy into the present, they ruthlessly play present and focus on the task at hand.
“You got to stay in the moment..when you stay in the moment, good things happen, because everybody’s just wrapped up in the process.” -Stephen Curry
Don’t show up to your practice or competition hoping to be focused. Here are four ways you can start training your focus right now.
Focus On What You Can Control
Your attitude, effort, and focus on what is happening right now are the only things you can control. When you are locked in with what’s in your control, you become fully present, that is the only moment where you can make a play. You aren’t worried about a past play or future play, so you are free of the stress of results. Go all in with a tremendous attitude and effort each play and you give yourself the best chance win.
On January 22nd 2006, mindfulness and performance expert George Mumford told Kobe Bryant not to try to score, but just be in the moment and let the game happen. That night he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.
“You get in the zone and just try to stay here. You don’t think about your surroundings, or what’s going on with the crowd or the team. You’re kind of locked in.” — Kobe Bryant, on his 81-point game
Refocus Fast: Next Play Speed
When you are aware that you lost your focus, make sure you refocus FAST and move onto the next play. That doesn’t mean trying to forget about the last play. See what’s in front of you, take a breath, and take action with what is happening in the current moment. Don’t get caught up in your feelings, you can take action no matter how you feel. Or not, and see how that works out.
Here is Michael Jordan refocusing fast at the highest level
Savagely Trust Your Skills
Go all in with trusting your skills in the present moment with a great attitude and effort and the MJ moments will happen.
If you have trained for it, trust it. As you train mentally, you must trust your physical skills in the present moment. There will be failures and challenges but they are there to help you grow. Trust that being in the present moment will maximize your potential and refocusing fast will prevent you from stopping yourself. Focus on being present, not perfect.
Rep This Process Out Relentlessly
Your process is to focus on what you can control, play present, and move onto the next play relentlessly. It is easy to be present and have laser focus when things are going well, but it takes savage work to be present and trust your skills when you aren’t getting the results you want. If you keep showing up no matter what and don’t stop yourself, you can’t be stopped.
There’s one particular exercise Clair Steele will never forget from UPB. And that’s Packie’s famous five-minute plank that would be thrown in at the end of workouts. Clair Steele used to dread those planks.