A winning edge for the Olympics and everyday life: Focusing on what you’re trying to accomplish rather than what’s going on with your body

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The Conversation


How do you get to the Olympics? Practice, practice, practice … but also know what to concentrate on during the heat of competition. How fast someone runs, swims or rows; how high or long they jump; how accurately they hit a target; how well they balance; or how much weight they can lift depends to a significant extent on where they focus their attention. I’m a sport scientist who for decades has studied how people learn motor skills. In the late 1990s I began examining how a performer’s focus of attention influences learning. Research suggests that what an athlete concentrates on can be the difference between winning the gold and not even making the team. What might be surprising is that shifting your focus from within yourself – what’s going on in your body – to what’s out there – what you’re trying to accomplish – is a winning strategy.

Controlled Subject

Olympics; Competition


Other Social and Behavioral Sciences

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