Game Sense Continued – III

By | December 3, 2017

Learning to Shift Attention

Being able to shift your attention and knowing when to do it are two quite different issues.  You must first select the appropriate cues and then develop a timely shift of attention.

You may want to start by determining which shifts of attention focus are most difficult for you.  Complete Exercise 5 to test your own skills.

Exercise 5 – Understanding Your Ability to Shift Attention

Directions

Rate how effectively you feel you are able to shift your attention in each of the situations described by circling the appropriate number.

Rating Scale

1=Very Weak
2=Weak
3=Average
4=Strong
5=Very Strong

1. Broad- Internal to Broad- External

Situation:  From analysing your coaching style to observe the player’s reactions.

Effectiveness:            1                     2                      3                      4                      5
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2. Broad-Internal to Narrow-External

Situation:  From developing a game plan to thinking about the play of a potentially erratic player.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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3. Broad-Internal to Narrow-External

Situation:  From analysing the key roles on your management team to observing a particular player’s ability to perform a key role.

Effectiveness:        1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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4. Broad-External to Broad-InternalSituation:  From watching a rugby game to mentally reviewing the effectiveness of your game plan.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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5. Broad-External to Narrow-Internal

Situation:  From coaching a close game to thinking about what has to be done to optimise the chances of success.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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6. Broad-external to Narrow-External

Situation:  From watching a game on TV to focusing on the logistics in preparation for the ensuing game.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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7. Narrow-Internal to Broad- Internal

Situation:  From focusing on your feeling of anxiety to scanning your body for signs of stress.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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8. Narrow-Internal to Broad-External

Situation:  From thinking about a pattern to watching the players perform it.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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9. Narrow-Internal to Narrow-External

Situation:  From thinking about a new pattern to watching a pivotal player perform a key role.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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10. Narrow-External to Broad-Internal

Situation: From listening to the advice of a mentor to integrating the information into your coaching method.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
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11. Narrow-External to Broad-External

Situation:  From watching an individual player to watching the entire game movement develop.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
_________________________________________________________________________

12. Narrow-External to Narrow-Internal

Situation:  From observing individual technique to thinking about implementing the game plan.

Effectiveness:            1                      2                      3                      4                      5
_________________________________________________________________________

Total your score for all the items then check your ability to shift attention on the following scale:

Score Rating
60-54 You shift attention very effectively
53-47 You do a good job of shifting your attention when necessary
46-40 You are of average ability in shifting attention.  Try some of the suggestions presented below to remove some of the roadblocks to the ability to shift attention
39-33  You need to work on this skill.  You can do better
32 or below You have very weak attention shifting skills.  You need to make developing the ability to shift attention a priority.

Be sure to note which shifts were most difficult for you.  Give particular attention to improving your abilities on those shifts.

Several factors can inhibit your ability to shift attention.  You can avoid many of the problems by acknowledging that the roadblocks exist and taking steps to combat them.

Exercise 6 – Crashing Roadblocks

The purpose of this exercise is to explore ways to break down the barriers to effectively shifting attention.

Roadblocks to Shifting Attention

Several factors can inhibit your ability to shift attention.  You can avoid many of the problems by acknowledging that the roadblocks exist and taking steps to combat them.

Question:  What are the major roadblocks to the ability to shift attention?

Directions:  In the space below, note how stress and pain inhibit effective shifting of attention and list possible ways to control each.

Stress

How stress inhibits shifting of attention

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

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Ways to control the effects 

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

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Pain

How pain inhibits shifting of attention

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________ 

Ways to control the effects

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

Notes

Stress acts as a road block to effectively shifting attention by forcing attention into an ineffective internal focus. Negative self-talk and worry are responsible for this shift.  The result is tunnel vision and scanning. To control the effects, develop stress management and psychic energy management skills.

Pain diverts attention away from the activity by way of the orienting response. Then stress mechanisms begin to function and attention shifts to thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. To control the effects of pain on attention you must first learn to distinguish between pain and discomfort. Pain is a signal to stop; you can perform through discomfort.  You must acknowledge discomfort and then direct your attention to task-relevant cues.  Learning stress management skills is also useful in crashing the roadblock of pain.

Concentration and Alertness

Concentration and Alertness are the two intensive aspects of attention. Concentration is the ability to sustain attention. Alertness is the awareness of stimuli in the environment. Being alert requires psychic energy.

Concentration

The ability to concentrate is enhanced by learning to still or park the mind.  Prior to taking on any task requiring concentration, you should park any other intruding thoughts.  You can return to them after you have addressed the task at hand.  This ability, and the ability to concentrate improves with practice getting rid of mental baggage.

Exercise 7 – Evaluating Your Concentration

The purpose of this exercise is to allow you to evaluate your current ability to concentrate.  You may want to make additional copies of the grid below so that you can use this exercise to practice concentration as well.

Go to the grid and give yourself one minute to mark off as many consecutive numbers as possible starting with the number 00.

Directions:  Ask a friend to time you for one minute.  During that time period beginning with number 00, put a slash through as many consecutive numbers as possible.

84 27 51 78 59 52 13 85 61 55
28 60 92 04 97 90 31 57 29 33
32 96 65 39 80 77 49 86 18 70
76 87 71 95 98 81 01 46 88 00
48 82 89 47 35 17 10 42 62 34
44 67 93 11 07 43 72 94 69 56
53 79 05 22 54 74 58 14 91 02
06 68 99 75 26 15 41 66 20 40
50 09 64 08 38 30 36 45 83 24
03 73 21 23 16 37 25 19 12 63

Comment

Those who are skilled at concentrating, scanning, and storing information are able to find up to 20 or 30 numbers in the sequence.  If you are below that number, work on your concentration skills and periodically try the test again, starting at a different number.

You can also add distractors to challenge your ability.  Try the exercise while the television, stereo, or radio is turned on loud in the background, or ask someone to talk to you as you try the exercise.  Practice helps you to improve your concentration skills significantly.  Additional suggestions are provided in the acquisition phase section.

Alertness

Having optimal alertness means managing concentration and psychic energy.  You must know when to concentrate and when to turn concentration off. In short events the problem is minimal.  But in long-duration events failure to break concentration can be devastating.  Think about your sport.  Should a coach and player maintain total concentration through the entire event, or should they periodically break concentration to conserve psychic energy?

Sprinters should maintain concentration throughout their event.  Long-distance runners or swimmers need to break their concentration periodically to avoid an ineffective draining of their psychic energy.  Gymnasts, wrestlers, and others who have breaks between competitive bouts must similarly break concentration between periods of activity.

The Education Phase Wrap-Up

The beginning of this unit has focused on the material you need to begin an attention training program.  Methods to evaluate their current level of attention were also presented.  Now we move to the educational phase.

 

 


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