Comments that distract your focus in sport | Three strategies for staying focusedJul 15, 2020
Three strategies for staying focused when comments distract your game
This article addresses a question that Gloria sent to Bob for his "Ask Bob" column. Read the article below with Bob's response to Gloria.
Hi, Bob. My name is Gloria. The other day I was going out to compete and someone made a comment to me that just stuck in my mind. How do I get that out of my mind and get my mind back on my game?
Hi, Gloria. Thanks for the question. It is a very interesting question from two points of view. Yours and the person who made the comment. Now, in North America, we are a very competitive lot. And comments like that happen all the time.
I hear it in golf. Some of my golf partners will say, you had better use your old ball, Bob, because that waterhole is a long one. Or watch the trees on the right of the rough or on the left. It does not make my game any easier when they are doing that, because I am more interested in putting it on the fairway. And they are trying to get me to hit it somewhere else. The same thing happens in other sports. You will get people telling you to watch out for various aspects of your sport.
So, when you head out there and that is stuck in your head, you’ve got a problem. And what I am going to suggest is that if you are a person that likes to make those comments, they're not useful to others and you're not making yourself any friends. And if you are the person receiving those comments and they are still bothering you, well, I then have three pieces of advice for you.
The first one is what I call the 30-minute rule, and it is to get away from people. Get away 30 minutes before the start of your competition and just go through your competition and visualize it. Do whatever you want. Even the 30 minutes, just being away from people is going to have a huge impact on your game.
The second thing is what I also teach to medical health practitioners, doctors, and people who deal with very sick people - When that person leaves them, they have to mentally clean up. They have to remove the residuals, so to speak. Much more than you ever have to do with someone making a comment like that.
And I teach them just to reach up and take an imaginary cord and pull it. And this imaginary shower just comes down and washes all the problems away and they can actually see it going down the drain in their mind.
And the third thing you can do if neither one of those two things works is to imagine what that person said to you as you're walking out. Say, for example, you hear, "Watch, the target's going to the right because the sun's bright and that obscures them". And you are going out there worried about those right targets. And one comes, of course, and you miss it.
So, before that ever happens, what you need to do is remember those old LPs - the vinyl records? If you take a nail across them, you couldn't hear the song on them. Well, you need to do that with that message you got from that person.
And all you have to do is hear that message about the targets going off to the right in the bright sun and play it backward in your mind really fast. This may sound funny, but listen to it again in your mind and played backward really fast. And back and forth. And if you do that several times, you will actually be chuckling because whatever they told you will make no sense and it will be as if you never heard it in the first place.
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