posted on: December 16, 2016
author: Brian Lomax
It’s no secret that you need excellent focus to be a great competitor. The best athletes in the world do this well and while they may make it look simple, it isn’t easy to do for long periods of time. There are a lot of things going on that are competing for your attention, and most of these have nothing to do with you playing your best in this moment. To perform at your peak, you have to be fully focused on what you can control.
Recently, I’ve been working with tennis players on incorporating a specific positive physical response in to what they do immediately after a point is over. It’s simple, easy to do, and very quick. If you were watching some random points of these players, you might not even notice it. And while we are talking about tennis in this post, the reasons for why we do this are the same for sports such as golf, volleyball, football, baseball/softball, etc.
Here is the physical response I’ve been asking players to use: Once a point is over, place the racquet into your non-dominant hand and hold it at the throat. Place the thumb of your dominant hand at the bottom of the string-bed or on your vibration dampener.
That’s it. As I said, it’s very simple and here are 3 reasons you should incorporate this into your game.
Great focus and great performance in tennis requires that you ALWAYS have a “next point” mentality. By moving on from the last point, you are now able to more clearly focus on what you need to do on the next point. This is the “Reset Button” concept at work. Programming an immediate physical response after a point is over is helpful in taking away that moment in which you normally judge yourself based on the last point so that you can move on to the next point. Forget what just happened; strive to perform your best on the next one.
When I first started utilizing this Reset Button concept many years ago, I didn’t have a physical response or ritual. I tried to use my self-talk to remind me to reset, and while this was somewhat effective, I found that completing a physical ritual immediately after a point was far more effective. For me, the vibration dampener became my physical Reset Button and my ability to remember to do this improved. Press your vibration dampener or strings to reset your focus.
This positive physical response is a very simple 2-step process, and even though it is simple and quick, it’s amazing how good it looks on video. We recently captured some video with a group of players and watched it with them. I asked them for their description of what they were seeing in themselves. Confident and calm were the most popular responses. They liked how it looked. They liked how it helped them take a bit more time and move on from the last point. Confident and calm is the image we want to be projecting after every point, first for ourselves and second for our opponent. By projecting this confident and calm image on a consistent basis, you are showing your opponent that you are unbreakable today.
If you are a tennis player, try the positive physical response I have described above and incorporate the Reset Button into your game. If you play another sport, design a simple positive physical response that will work for you. Adopt a next point/play/shot/pitch mentality into your performance, and your ability to focus and perform well will dramatically improve.
Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.
Learn more about the author: https://performancextra.com/brian-lomax/