We’ve all heard the term “get your head in the game”? All athletes struggle with focus, motivation and execution at all skill levels.
Athletes attentional span when processing information at optimal levels means the athlete identifies what the differences between task irrelevant and task relevant cues. Athletes attentional span is broad during low levels of physiological arousal and can be attributed to a team making mental mistakes during a game. During moderate levels of arousal, task relevant cues increase (head is in the game) and task-irrelevant cues (distraction, confusion, apathy)?decrease, narrowing the attentional span to what is needed to optimize the athletic performance. If an athlete goes beyond the midlevel of arousal and crosses over into high levels of physiological arousal, there is too much shrinkage of attentional span and task relevant cues are completely lost (they appear overwhelmed, stressed and confused).
Understanding how each athlete applies and leverages optimal levels of physiological arousal and associate it with task relevant or irrelevant cues gives a competitor an advantage. The activation or de-escalation during games, is a complex process that top performers utilize for maximizing emotional and mental strategies during games.
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