An Imaginary Force Field Can Deflect Distractions From Your Athletes
An Imaginary Force Field Can Deflect Distractions From Your Athletes

Sport Psychology: Use a Force Field to Prevent Distractions

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Competitions and practices can present many distractions to your athletes: bad calls by referees, heckling from opposing fans, errant passes, trash talk from players...and that cute spectator in the first row.

Such distractions may cause your players to lose their focus and play inattentively or with too much anger.

What your athletes need is a way to make distractions bounce off them with no effect...something like an invisible force field that no distractions can penetrate.

Imagine an Invisible Force Field
In fact, a force field is an image your athletes can use to remind themselves to ignore distractions and maintain their focus. When they perceive a distraction that bothers them, have them visualize that distraction hitting their invisible force field and bouncing off.

How to Practice
The best place to rehearse this visualization is during practice. Have your athletes imagine themselves encountering a distraction but seeing it deflect off their invisible shield so they experience no loss of focus. They can use the image whenever they encounter a distracting situation during the practice.

1. Costas Karageorghis & Peter Terry, Inside Sport Psychology, Human Kinetics, 2010.
Terry Orlick (PhD), In Pursuit of Excellence (2nd edition), Human Kinetics Publishers, 1990.

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© 2011, Physical Education,

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