I often get questions similar to the following, having to do with their child’s sports focus. My son seems to have trouble concentrating for very long during competition, any advice to help them gain sports focus?
The first thing I try to find out from parents, after receiving this type question, is whether their child has trouble concentrating with other things, as schoolwork and other activities, or is it simply their sports focus. When they have concentration problems with many things, parents should consult with qualified, behavioral personnel. When it is mainly the sports focus, the following suggestions may help.
* It is important to note that it is common for many kids to lack sport focus in practice, especially at young ages, but when there is an apparent lack of focus in game competition, there is more reason to figure things out.
Tips for Gaining Sports Focus
- It is important to find out that their son or daughter has real interest in that particular sport? Often, parents have the interest in a particular sport and want their child to have the same interest. Kids are all different and sports are different, and it is important to have them play multiple sports, at young ages, to find the one that suits their personality. For example, high-energy kids often have trouble with lower energy sports like baseball, where there is much more down time. When kids have good concentration with one sport but lack it in another sport, that is the sport they obviously enjoy and should focus the most on.
- Second, parents should not over-expect kids to have great concentration skills at a young age, as time is necessary to develop those. As long as kids say they are having fun, parents should be patient with their development.
- Third, interest, and the resulting concentration, develops with success. Giving kids the ways and means of practicing a sport, without over stressing or forcing them to do it, often leads to greater success, which creates more fun and sports focus. Camps and lessons may do just that.
Other Sports Focus Suggestions
- When practicing with players, it is important to keep things moving with different skill practices. Attention spans are short for many, so it is best to change activities relatively often. A wide variety of practice activities keep kids engaged and their concentration levels up.
- Challenging players appropriately may help to keep kids focused. Repetitive and easy to perform things may lead to boredom or a lack of focus.
- Allowing breaks in action and quality social time among teammates may help. Insisting kids always keep their “heads in the game,” even during non-action times is not always best. Having to maintain focus for long periods, as is usually necessary in games, is difficult.
- Find positions for them on the field that may engage them more. For example, putting a player in right field game after game, leads to a lack of concentration, when they may stay focused in the infield.
- Overwhelming kids with “do this, do that,” instruction may cause them to tune out in competition, also. Save most instruction for practice and let players just play the game may help.
Finally, even though it may be evident that a child lacks concentration, it is counter-productive to make a big too big of a deal of it, as getting upset about it with them, usually hurts a child’s self-esteem in the end. Finding the activities that kids concentrate on and enjoy is the parents’ responsibility.