Directed Attention – Part 2

If you missed Part 1 – check it out here.

Part 2:  Where to direct attention?

Nidiffer’s “Attentional and Interpersonal Style” shows the differences in directed attention.  Athletes should take note of how the attention choices interact with each other and figure out where to direct attention:

The ability to control attention is something that has become a hot topic in society.  In fact our society has become obsessed with focus.  Many believe the world of smart phones, tablets, and social media have created multi-tasking jack of all trades, but masters of none.  The lack of focus has created an ADHD epidemic with 5.2 million or 8.2% of American children aged 3-17 being diagnosed.  The ability to direct attention to needed actions seems to be getting harder and harder for our youth.

While the inability to focus continues to garner attention, athletes need to have a strong understanding of what is needed to perform.  There may be times to be very broad and internal with attention, but have the ability to change within moments to being narrow and broad—think a point guard who goes from scanning the floor to shooting free throws.

Athletes need to have a good grasp on their internal focus.  Often it’s imperative for athlete’s to direct their attention to what they can do rather than what they can’t do.  An athlete’s ability to internally direct their attention to needed actions rather than distractions is ultimately what determines concentration.

What are you going to direct your attention to today?  How can you make sure you’re in control of your attention?  Are you directing your attention to the steps needed for success or simply the end result?  These are questions to ask yourself as you continue to learn how to control where your attention is directed.  So the next time someone tells you, “FOCUS”, think about your attention and where to direct it.