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(skills) Definition • The process that directs our awareness as information becomes available to the senses
• More selective in stimuli • Automatically rank stimuli non-screeners are vice versa and needs to be coached more Dimensions of Attention • Width of Attention Narrow – focus to one thing Broad – focus to many stimuli • Direction of attention Internal- inside our minds External- toward our surroundings • 4 Quadrants / Attention style Broad-Internal Style (quarterback thinking of possible plays) Broad-External Style (point guard initiating a fast break) Narrow-External Style (returning a service in tennis) Narrow-Internal Style (selecting a club in golf) Selecting a Style • Must be strong in all 4 styles • Must be able to shift readily from one to the other depending on the situation Timing the Shift • Know how and when • Readily change depending on situation • Error occurs if shifting is too fast or too slow Causes of Errors Stress • Stress can come from a variety of factors. (family,friends,coach,teammates…) • When stressed, width of attention narrows because psychic energy increases. o First eliminating irrelevant stimuli o And then eliminating taskrelevant stimuli (error) • High negative psychic energy causes errors
Perception- knowing objects and objectives, events and occurs only when you attend to your senses Attention- direct and maintains awareness of stimuli detected by the senses
Importance • Achieve superior performance when under the optimal energy zone. (focus only on the skill performed) • Practice = automatic in performing skills • State of “Flow” High attention + high psychic energy Time slows down Slow motion of movts Feeling of omnipotence Selectivity of Attention Ability to choose correct stimuli to attend to Practiced by trial and error (but will take years) Types 1. Orienting response Automatic because of extraordinary stimuli Commands your attention when stimulus is intense, loud/ unusual, contrast to prevailing stimuli, moving stimuli Must control. Not always positive – ex. Cheering of crowd against you.
Athletes interest People divert attention to interest Explain why you teach the skill Make practice appealing Select what players want to do Mind set Alert to cues Positive or negative Ex. Reading opponents movements
4. Screener vs Non-screener ability to choose from many stimuli be a screener • Less anxious
Causes you to focus your attention internally (you think about your mistakes during the game)
Stress makes it impossible to shift attention readily “Scanning”-scan the environment with narrow attention o Harder to find the right cues o More susceptible to distraction Managing stress Attentional skills o Manage stress to improve attentional skills o Improve attentional skills to manage stress
Guidelines for Improving Concentration • Prepare the mind to concentrate • Use pre-event routines • Use triggers-words/actions that remind the athlete to concentrate • Practice • Stay mentally alert and manage psychic energy Implementing an Attention Training Program 1. Educate about attentional skills 2. Determine current skills 3. Compare current skills to attentional demands of the sport 4. Plan a training program 5. Practice skills that needs to be developed • Attentional skills should be practiced during actual training sessions • As skills progress, increase difficulty by adding in-game distractions Framework for Identifying the Attentional Problems Check if the athlete knows how to: • Select the right stimuli to focus on • Shift attention • Sustain attention
Pain Overwhelmingly strong and difficult to push aside. (Emotional or physical pain) • Athletes with a low pain threshold are more susceptible to poor shifting of attention due to pain. • Manage pain by: o Redirect attention away from pain o Don’t attend to the SensationPerception link • Ignoring pain could be dangerous so know when to attend to it and when to dissociate from it. Guidelines for Improving Flexibility of Attention • Education! Know about the factors affecting the ability to shift attention. • Address your deficiencies. • Manage stress to shift attention better or shift your attention to manage stress. • Redirect attention from powerful stimuli towards the right cues. • Condition the mind to sustain the attention demanded by the sport. • Seek advice from others who excel in this area. Intensive Aspects of Attention 1. Concentration-narrowing of attention, a fixation of attention to a certain stimulus.” 2. Attention span-period of time with which you can sustain the attention being given. 3. Alertness-refers to a person’s awareness to the stimuli impinging on the senses. • Concentration consumes psychic energy, energy management skills are needed. • Athletes need to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. • When concentration is not managed prudently, athletes are likely to experience psychic fatigue more than physical fatigue. • Psychic fatigue causes all the attentional mechanisms to collapse