Concentration and Strategies for Controlling It

Report
Chapter 15
Concentration and Strategies for
Controlling It
Jean Williams, Robert M. Nideffer, Vietta E. Wilson,
and Marc-Simon Sagal
“When I’m focused, there is not one single thing, person, anything
that can stand in the way of my doing something.”
Michael Phelps, winner of 18 Olympic gold medals
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
Concentration
Under maximal demands, it entails:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Selective attention to appropriate cues
100% attention to the task at hand
Staying totally in the here and now
Keeping appropriate focus over
appropriate length of time
5. Quickly shifting attention based upon
changing demands.
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Lost Concentration
• Attention to irrelevant cues
• Inappropriate divided attention
• Can’t remember name after introduction because also
focusing on making a good impression
• Left the here and now
• Thinking of past or future outcome
• Become aware of gaps in experience
• Reading book chapter and later become “alert” and don’t
know what read
• Performance level is suffering
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When are we most likely to have problems
concentrating?
• After mistakes
• When stressed out
• When not sufficiently motivated
• When overmotivated
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Attentional Control Training (ACT)
1. Athletes must engage in at least 4 different
types of concentration.
2. Different sport situations = different
attentional demands, so the athlete must
shift to the appropriate type of concentration
3. Under optimal conditions, the average person
can meet the concentration demands of a
wide variety of performance situations.
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ACT (cont.)
4. Individual differences exist in attentional abilities…individual
athletes have different attentional strengths and weaknesses
• Attentional style becomes more predictive of behavior
when arousal levels are higher
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ACT (cont.)
5. The individual’s ability to perform effectively depends on 2
factors: the appropriateness of the dominant attentional
style, and the level of confidence
6. Choking occurs as physiological arousal increases – causes
attention to narrow and muscles begin to tighten
7. Alterations in physiological arousal affect concentration
8. Alterations in the focus of attention also affect physiological
arousal
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Types of Concentration
• Width of Focus
- Broad
- Narrow
• Direction of Focus
- Internal
- External
Results in Four Dimensions of Attention
EXTERNAL
Assess
Perform
BROAD
NARROW
Analyze
Rehearse
INTERNAL
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Types of Concentration
EXTERNAL
BROAD
Quarterback dropping
back to pass
Basketball player starting
a fast break
Golfer assessing hole
Lawyer presenting to a
jury
Hitter tracking the ball
Sighting as a marksman
Golfer addressing a ball
Reading a test question
Reading in noisy setting
Analyzing mental
strengths
Coach formulating a
game plan
Planning essay answer
Clinician forming a
diagnosis
Monitor neck and
shoulder tension
Deep breath to relax
Mentally rehearse a skill
Memorize a fact
INTERNAL
NARROW
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Assessing attentional strengths
and weaknesses
• The Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS)
• Measures athlete’s relevant concentration skills and
interpersonal characteristics
• Results provide the basis for a situation specific focus for
an attention control training program
• Also benefits from interviews, behavior rating scales,
observations, and other assessment tools
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TAIS
• BET Broad External Attention: High scores = good environmental
awareness and assessment
• OET Overloaded by External Information: High scores = errors
because focus on irrelevant external stimuli
• BIT Broad Internal Attention: High scores = good analytical
planning skills
• OIT Overloaded by Internal Information: High scores = errors due
to distractions from irrelevant internal sources
• NAR Narrow-Focused Attention: High scores = can remain
oriented on task and avoid distractions
• RED Reduced Attention: High scores = errors due to a failure to
shift attention from external to internal or vice versa
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Choking
• The athlete becomes focused on the increasing
pressure and physiological arousal gets too high
• A significant drop in performance
• Athletes “blow it” under high stress and cannot regain
control without some outside assistance
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
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How to Prevent and Treat Choking
• Recognize and eliminate the physical
feelings associated with excessive tension
• Reinterpret physical feelings as facilitative
• Use simulation and rehearsal to compensate
for lack of experience and desensitize to
unexpected
• When performing, train to focus on the
process rather than outcome
• Incorporate detailed pre-performance
routines
• Provide training to recover quickly from the
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unexpected Copyright
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Training for Better Control of
Concentration
1. Coaches and sport psychologists assisting athletes
in identifying the different attentional styles and
when to use them
• Narrow-external drills
• Broad-external drills
• Narrow-to-broad external drills
• Narrow-internal drills
• Broad-internal drills
• Narrow-to-broad internal drill
• Intention leads to attention
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Training for Better Control of
Concentration (cont.)
• Do NOT assume athletes automatically know where to
look and how to focus
• Tell athletes specifically what to focus on
• Create drills that help athletes find the focus that
best suits them
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External Factors: Strategies to Minimize
External Distractions
• Athletes need to be trained not to react to irrelevant
external stimuli
• Systematically train before a competition to be
situationally independent
1. Dress rehearsal
2. Simulated competition experiences
3. Mental rehearsal
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External Factor Strategies
• Strategy 1: Dress Rehearsal
• Effective for sports such as gymnastics, diving,
synchronized swimming, and figure skating
• Practice the complete competitive routine in the
same uniform one would wear during competition
• Conduct frequently after athletes have mastered a
new skill and are practicing for the whole routine
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 2: Simulated Competition
Experiences
• Make practices as much like
competition as possible
• Enables athletes to concentrate
and dissociate from the disruptive
stimuli
• Over train athletes in worst case
scenarios
• Piping in distracting noise into
the stadium
• Wet ballCopyright
drills
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 3: Mental Rehearsal
• Use mental rehearsal to create
the high stress and external
distractions in competition,
then imagine effectively
performing and concentrating
under those conditions
• Stay relaxed and focused by
tuning out distractions
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Internal Factors: Strategies to
Stay Focused
• Coaches or sport psychologists must help train the
athlete’s mind to exert control - concentration
inhibits distraction
• Strategies
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Attentional cues and triggers
Centering
TIC-TOC
Turning failure into success
Use of Biofeedback
Increasing focusing and refocusing skills
Developing performing protocols
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External Factor Strategies
• Strategy 1: Attentional Cues and Triggers
– Athletes use visual, verbal, and kinesthetic cues to focus
their concentration and to refocus once it has been lost
– Center attention on the most appropriate focus within
the task at hand
– Avoid distracting thoughts and feelings
– Cues focus on: positives (not negatives), the present (not
past or future), and the process (not outcome)
– Must be individualized
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 2: Centering
– Technique for controlling physiological arousal and for ignoring
negative and task-irrelevant stimuli
– Reduces arousal and stops negative or task-irrelevant focus
– Understanding centering:
– Center of mass: Where the imaginary vertical and horizontal lines
through your body intersect (behind your belly button)
– Centered: When your body weight is distributed about the center
of mass in a way that feels comfortable
– Centering: Process used to adjust weight about your center of
mass so you feel centered
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 3: TIC-TOC
• Use the words TIC and TOC to trigger a response
• TIC = any self-statements or thoughts that are
irrelevant to the immediate task
• TOC = switching to a task relevant focus
• Strategy entails becoming aware to TICs and
immediately making them TOCs
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 4: Turning Failure into
Success
• Mentally rehearse successful
performance after a failure/error
• Dwelling on the failure is more
harmful than making a
performance error
• Use positive self-talk to refocus
attention and address why
mistake occurred
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 5: Use of Brain Biofeedback
– Efficient use of the brain (less brain activity)
occurs during elite performance
– Brain efficiency can be measured and trained
using computerized EEG biofeedback
– Athlete uses his/her brain waves to control the
attentional display on the computer
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 6: Focusing/Refocusing Skills
– Teaches performers to gently hold attention on a
predetermined task and, if attention wanders, to bring
attention back
– Similar to meditative practices
– Mindfulness
– One pointing
– Grid exercise
– Video games
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External Factor Strategies (cont.)
• Strategy 7: Pre-performance and Performance Protocols
– Rituals
– Develop pre-set behavioral protocols for use during
warm-ups, practice, and specific times during competition
– Cue body and mind
– PRACTICE!!!
– Will automatically trigger the needed arousal, thinking,
and focused concentration
– If attention lapses, can use protocol to refocus
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