Attention and concentration in sports performance

atencion concentracion deporte

The attention is a psychological process by means of which establish contact with the most notable stimuli of our surroundings, omitting those others that are not so important. In any sportive practice have a high capacity atencional and of concentration will be key for maximizar the performance by what his training has to form part of the sportive planning.

The training of the attention and the concentration has like main aim direct to the sporty in a concrete direction that allow to process the most notable information to make a determinate action. The sportsman has to learn to interpret the surroundings to generate the answers motrices more efficient. These stimuli can proceed of the outside (environment, launch of the game, etc.) or of the own interior of the individio (irrational thought, in loop, etc.), distractions that can reduce the focus atencional and therefore the probability of success.

>> Article related: The psychological preparation for the competition like part of the sportive planning.

They have to him  provide to the sporty tools and strategies to improve his capacity atencional, task in which the sportive psychologists have to put emphasis since it is one of the psychological variables more important in the sport, especially in those that demand levels very high of attention or concentration like the sports of precision (shot, golf, etc.) or teach to the sporty to handle his process atencional in function of the moment of the game, for example when a player of football has  to launch a penalti or a direct fault.

Each sportsman and each sportive discipline is different by what in the first place has to  know cual is the level of optimum activation to adapt the strategies and tools of management atencional to his program of specific training and to his own variables to control.

Psychological variables to control for the improvement of the attention and the concentration in the sport. 

As we already advance, the stimuli that can distract to the sporty can proceed of the outside or of the interior. These last are perhaps those that more is necessary to work with the sportsmen that have to learn to address or delete the negative thoughts or distractores and change them by those others more positive or that favour the execution and reduce the levels of anxiety to the levels of activation more optimum.

If for example, an olympic fencer in the just moment to shoot comes him  to the thought the possibility of errar out of the white (10) or that if it fails will lose the championship has to detain this thought immediately or will lose the control of the situation and of unaware way his own brain will execute the task according to the thought wrongly: shoot to the 8 instead of to the 10. Our own brain transfers this thought to the observable behaviour for autojustificar this thought. Has to work  to change this thought by the contrary to this knows him  like arrest of the thought and for this exist numerous technicians to reestablish the focus atencional. These are some of the resources that can use :

  1. Reemplazamiento Of the thought: it makes  a review, even by writing, of those positive thoughts that reinforce to the sporty. For example, memories of good previous executions, visualisation of the correct technician or of sportive attainments that reduce the risk of appear the thoughts intrusivos. The taking of autoconsciencia that the sportsman is able to execute with guarantees the task. If it appears the negative thought can use  a mental image that replace it, like a good previous execution that have the previously internalised sportsman.
  2. Centre the attention to the interior of the sporty. This achieves  by means of tools of relaxation or technical of breath that boost the self-supervision of the sporty so that it was able to take consciousness and anticipate to that they appear the unsuitable thoughts.
  3. Centre the attention of external way. That is to say, once that it produce  the thought intrusivo make some type of routine behaviour to delete it or replace it as it can be make some type of autoinstrucción (you can!, you are able!, etc.) or carry the focus atencional to another side as it can be: tie the zapatillas, fix in the aim, look to a determinate place already trained or a behaviour that serve for reiniciar the processing of the information involved in the execution.
  4. Train in the control of the task so that the player learn to execute it when has the focus attention in balance. It is important for this the work of the emotional intelligence, the autoeficacia perceived and the taking of emotional consciousness. It is determinant know choose the exact moment to execute, especially in the sports of precision, as we already said previously.

Technicians for the improvement of the attention and the concentration.

Inside the resources already speak and more specifically, can speak of some technicians that can apply  in the training:

  • Simulation of the sportive practice. Already it was in imagination or visualisation or re-creating the situations of competition in the training. What more train a real situation more control will have of her afterwards in the competition.
  • Use of keywords. Can have  some words reference or key that serve of “switch” for the correct processing of the information.
  • Generate routines. Have a clear routine can facilitate the processing of the focus atencional because it reduces the distractions when seeing  “forced” to concentrate  in the routine
  • Command of the technician. Obviously, the technical improvement facilitates the attention but inside this appearance the most important is that the sportsman was conscious that has the sufficient technician and of not being so it can improve it.
  • Employment of the no critical thought so that  focalice the “how” to the “what”. How I can improve?
  • Focalización In the present. This is fundamental to avoid that the sportsman centre  in situations fallidas previous.
  • Videos. The sportsman has to be able to see  to if same making the tasks to learn to know when or reason has  descentrado in the execution. The sportsman is the best connoisseur of his internal state but sometimes are not capacees to see  from the outside by what an audiovisual image will facilitate this process.

The sportive psychologist will be the attendant to provide and design the plan of action for the improve atencional specific for each player in relation to his specific sport, work that requires some time, planning and training but that definitely is one of the pillars for the improvement of the sportive performance.


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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