Refocusing During Sport Down-Time
The notion of training athletes to refocus during the down-time in sport can potentially result in improved performance (Loehr, 1994). Down-time refers to a break in the competitive action during the game. Examples of down-time include the time between pitches in a baseball game, between shots in a golf tournament, or between points in a tennis match. Down-time can have either a positive or negative impact on performance.
Consider the following:
Positive refocusing skills were demonstrated by the basketball player and golfer and a lack of these skills was exhibited by the tennis player. The basketball player and golfer observed relevant competitive or control cues (the rim, repeating the word 'calm') while the tennis player continued to think about a previous mistake or error. Positive internal and external cues must be consciously attended to in order to avoid a break in concentration and a drop in overall performance.
Research supports the association between the ability to refocus and athletic performance. For example, a study on archery performance revealed a significant relationship between focusing on past mistakes and a performance decrement (Landers, Boutcher, & Wang, 1986). Sports with long periods of down-time are most prone to distractions. Tennis, a sport with much more down-time than competitive action, averages 28.5 seconds of between-point time on hardcourts, according to official men's professional tour statistics (Loehr, 1994). Down-time can truly become more of an opponent than the competition!
Mental strategies for refocusing during down-time include:
Consistent positive actions during down-time enable athletes to achieve an optimal mental state within a few seconds. The ability to refocus before each competitive situation is necessary for athletic success!
Landers, D.M., Boutcher, S.H., & Wang, M.Q. (1986). A psycho biological study of archery performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 57, 236-244.
Loehr, J.E. (1994). The development of a cognitive-behavioral between-point intervention strategy for tennis. In S. Sera, J. Alves, & V. Pataco (Eds.), International Perspectives on Sport and Exercise Psychology (pp.219-233). Morgantown: Fitness Information Technology.
Joseph Pacelli is a Master of Arts degree student of physical
education and sport psychology in the School of Health, Physical
Education and Leisure Services at the University of Northern Iowa.
He is the assistant UNI men's and women's tennis coach, a tennis
teaching professional, and a member of the UNI Sport Psychology
Amazing Bookstore Catalog!
What's Hot !|
About SH&P | Articles | Advertise | Classifieds
Dear SH&P | Discussion Zone | FAQ | Kids Korner | Resources | Meditation
Post Cards | Professional | PsychToons | Reviews | Staff | Search | Submissions
SH&P SHOP | NEWSLETTER | CONTACT US | HOME
Although every effort is made to present accurate information, security is imperfect and unintended errors or mischievous material may be present. Please alert the Webmaster to anything that seems wrong.
Of course, while visiting any of our pages, you can be assured of privacy.