Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Build in some focus breaks

May 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Mental Side

Ever stare at something long enough that what you are looking at begins to blur?  

There is a time for intense focus and a time to relax the brain. Each player needs to figure out his own how's and when's.

Ever think/read/study something over a long period of time and just kind of blank out? 

You’ve probably had both happen to you.  At some point the brain fades out and performance (comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, etc.)  suffers.  When this happens, many people take a short break in the form of getting out of their seat, taking a walk, or watching TV or music.  This snaps the brain out of it’s funk and makes us more productive when we return to whatever we were originally focusing on.

This same phenomena affects baseball players.  Especially the more intense ones out there.  These players often focus so much that it sometimes hurts their ability to perform.  Over time, these players need to build in some focus breaks during the course of the game so that when they really need to perform they can refocus and get the job done. 

Here is an example of this:

Player A sits in the dugout and watches every single pitch the pitcher throws to search for patterns and tendencies.  He studies the pitchers arm angles, release points, grips, location, and anything else he sees to gather the most amount of information on the guy.  He particularly watches how this pitcher throws to each batter in the line-up in an attempt to figure out how the pitcher might try to get him out.

Through experience, Player B found out that acting like Player A often gave him “information overload” and didn’t really help his performance.  As a result, when Player B sits in the dugout, he watches closely how the pitcher pitches guys in the line-up who are like him.  He is a left handed hitter so he pays very close attention when other left handed hitters are at bat.  When righties are batting, he “rests” his brain by not focusing as much on the finer details.  He just watches like a spectator.  This break in focus allows him to more easily regain his focus when he needs to in order to perform at a high level.

All players are different is this regard so each player needs to become aware of what to pay attention to and what to ignore.  Although it’s usually better for young players to increase their focus during games, going overboard can lead to problems. 

All players should find some situations during the game to just relax their mind and not focus on anything.  It may take some time to determine how best to do this but over time the players’ focus usually is better off.

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