Attention and Performance

Thinking about the movements needed for high performance can actually be a detriment to high performance. Depending on the skill level of an athlete, thinking about how to move to perform a task will likely result in stiff, slow movement patterns. Many high performance skills rely on smooth, fluid, and quick movement patterns.

An athlete learning new movement patterns should obviously be told how to make the movements, one would think. It’s been shown, however, that often times the learning curve can be shortened by allowing an athlete to figure out the successful most efficient movement patterns for themselves as giving them detailed directions on how to perform the task causes them to think too much about it and slows the process.

This has me thinking about ways to divert, or channel, a students attention to facilitate a more efficient, shortened path to motor skill development. It’s also got me wondering how I can manage my own attention focus to perform at a consistent, high level without “choking.”

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