The Mental Game: How to focus on what you can control in sports

The Mental Game: How to focus on what you can control in sports

Mental Edge Performance

The Mental Game: How to focus on what you can control in sports

By is founded by Shayne McGowan, based on the concept of creating a superior standard of training for athletes on and off the field. McGowan is a certified mental game coaching professional. He has studied at Cal State University and has played football in college and briefly in the pros. He is a member of Coaches of Canada and NCCP certified, has 30 years fitness background as a trainer. He has done interviews on Fox Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio, NFL Spin Zone, NFL Showtime, BlogTalkRadio and writes for Train fitness magazine.

There are so many things outside of your direct control in sports.

In sports, there are countless things you cannot control. For example: playing time, judges’ scores, weather, referee calls, playing conditions, trash talking from the other team, spectators, injuries, teammates… the list goes on.

Focusing on the uncontrollable impacts you in a number of ways:

  • When you focus on the uncontrollable, it takes your head out of the game.
  • When you focus on the uncontrollable, you create negative emotions.
  • When you focus on the uncontrollable, you are no longer immersed in the present moment.
  • When you focus on the uncontrollable, your performance declines rapidly.

What exactly can you control in sports?

Preparation – Your preparation includes: your level of training, your diet, your attention to mental skills, your game plan or competitive strategy, your technique, your competition warm-up, your pre-game routine, etc. When you prepare meticulously, you feel more confident and in control.

Effort – Effort includes: your training intensity, your competition intensity and your attention to technique refinement. Hard work often separates the good from the great.

Attitude – Attitude includes: your mindset towards competition, your perspective towards adversity, the content of your thoughts, your approach to training and an arduous season, your response to mistakes and your response to bad officiating. Your attitude is everything when it comes to competing.

Focus – Your focus is what you choose to pay attention to. If you can focus on the positive and immerse yourself in the moment, you will give yourself a big advantage over your competition.

Focusing on the controllable will help you keep your head in the game, emotions in check and performing at your peak.


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