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 Focus and Task Relevant Cues 
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Post Focus and Task Relevant Cues
Focus and Task Relevant Cues
by: John Ellsworth

Focus and having the ability to remain immersed in the Task Relevant Cues is critical to the execution of a task. When the athlete is unable to remain immersed in the relevant cues and the task at hand one of two things will happen: 1) The athlete will have trouble with the Challenge/Skill (CS) level equation, or 2) the athlete will have trouble with internal or external distractions. All it takes is a split second distraction for the athlete to lose focus and as a result miss the cues associated with execution of the skill. An athletes focus and the ability to control the direction of focus may be the single most important mental skill, second to confidence. The goal is to help the athlete focus better more of the time; and understand when and how to refocus when distractions get in the way. One distraction that will act as an internal distraction is the athlete's level of activation or intensity (called physiological arousal). Few athletes realize that you can actually over-stimulate your intensity, get over excited and adversely impact your ability to focus. Events outside of a sport, such as challenges in your business, academic or personal life can also influence your ability to focus fully in practice and competition. The # 1 key to keeping distractions from impacting performance is ""Awareness"". To be ""aware"" we must first identify the distractions that get keep us from performing at our best.

I challenge you to make a list of the Top 5 Internal Distractions, and the Top 5 External Distractions that get in the way of reaching your peak performances. Write these down!! Internal distractions, the most common, are often self-induced and enter the mind in the form of doubt, indecision, lack of confidence or negative thoughts about performance. Example: Tennis player worrying about double faulting. External distractions are the changes in the environment that cause off task issues. Examples: Changes in the weather, officials getting in the head of a player, hecklers in the stands, or off field distractions.

Make a commitment to be aware of what you have in your control, and understand what is out of your control. Once you have created the two lists send me an email -- I will reveal to you the Five Elements to Developing a Keen Focus and help you incorporate these into a strategy to keep distractions from negatively controlling your performances.

About The Author
John Ellsworth brings a multifaceted approach to the mental aspects of sports and health. Combined with his expertise in clinical and applied sports psychology, John has extensive experience coaching, teaching, and consulting with serious athletes of all ages. For more information visit:

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Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:24 am
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