Posted: December 02nd 2016
"Hi Frankie, how can I improve my son's concentration during a game? In yesterday's game he basically went into a daze and the game went by him thanks, Andrew”
How long have we got? Ha ha
Firstly, I’m sure a lot of parents (and coaches) can relate to Andrew’s question above. I know I can...
If you developed a pill to improve concentration in children then you’d be a millionaire.
Oh wait...hang on there ARE pills you can take...
(The only problem is they can have BAD side effects)
So let’s look at some natural ways to improve concentration in youngsters on and off the pitch (and maybe even ourselves).
I’m not going to be able to go into EVERYTHING in this email that I would do to improve concentration but I’m gonna throw a few key ideas out for you to chew on..
1. Remember, we are all great at concentration
At any given time, if we’re awake we have to be focused on something. It just depends what you’re focused ON, how long you can stay focused on it.
For example, kids are pretty good at concentrating when they’re on the Playstation or X-Box, wouldn’t you agree?
So it’s about where we place our attention...
2. Are you Inside or outside ?
There are two main ways we can focus our attention:
a) Inside ourselves – on our own thoughts, feelings, body sensations etc
b) Outside ourselves – on pretty much ANYTHING going on around us
That’s a lot of stuff we COULD focus on...(that’s why it’s so easy to get distracted)
So how do we focus in a game on the things we WANT to focus on (and not get distracted)?
Go into the game with clear targets to focus your attention...
No more than 3 – based on how you want to play. How do you want to come off the pitch feeling? What do you want to put into practice out there on the pitch?
These are questions you can ask your Football-Mad child to help them focus and shut-out other stuff.
It could be something that you’ve been working on with your coaches in training – that’s a good place to start.
Visualise - Make a plan of the things you are going to do before the game...think about what you’re gonna do, how you’re gonna do it on the pitch to be successful.
The more times you see, hear and FEEL yourself being successful in the key areas you chose in Numero Uno the more you programme your body to ‘Just Do It’ as the Nike saying goes...during the game itself.
Identify the trigger words and phrases to re-focus during the game
‘switch-on’...is a common trigger phrase used, and a good one.
We also need more specific trigger words for specific situations –
There are only 2 main phases of play in a game:
1. When your team has the ball – attacking
‘Head up’ – is always a good one to use when on the ball
‘find space’ – is a good one to use off the ball
2. When your team doesn’t have the ball - defending
‘React’, ‘Track-back’ or ‘Get Goal-side’ might be simple triggers words to use here
‘Close down’, ‘Mark touch tight’ ‘Stay on your feet’ ‘Watch the ball’
Get the idea?
These aren’t quick-fixes though. They require practice, practice, practice.
Have a go with your child and let me know how you get on ok?
Have a great weekend
We’re at the Junior Premier League in Bristol, then it’s back to watch the Swans, then out to watch the Rugby with my mates to celebrate my birthday .
PS – Remember, all this stuff won’t work if a players’ pre-match routine is poor. Early bed, eating well, relaxing on the morning of a game, thinking good thoughts are all-important. Develop a routine that works and then stick to it
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