Mental focus is important especially in competitive sports like badminton. In every match, you are faced in a direct duel (1 on 1, or 2 on 2) against your opponents. You have to find slight advantages in your game to be able to beat them – the mental aspect is one advantage that you should always take advantage of. In this post, I will share why it is important to stay mentally focused during training, and how you can execute this during training. In a later post, I will share different techniques on how to apply this mental focus to real games or tournaments.
Why is mental focus important during training?
Most people are aware that it is important to be mentally focused during important matches or games – no joking around and play with the intent to win every rally. However, less people are aware that staying focused during training is just as important. Here are a few reasons why:
You learn how to stay focused
How can you trigger the switch to become a “focused player” in a real tournament, if you haven’t been applying this during training? Many people expect that when the tournament comes, they become that focused player they wanted to be. However, for most people, this is not the case. Instead, they get tournament jitters and are unable to play the way they expected. By being focused during training, you are already used to the intensity at which your body and mind have to work – with this, flipping the switch is just that much easier and more natural.
You get the most out of your trainings
Think about it, every minute that you waste talking or joking around with your friends is one minute less that you are practicing. When you are focused, you won’t let these distractions pop up as often. Instead, you’ll be in your own zone capitalizing on every second of training. You will not be wasting any time and instead you will be pushing yourself to the limit, the whole time.
You set a standard for yourself and others
When you train with focus, you personally know what it takes to get there and what you get from it. For others, you can also set this standard of training focus. When others follow suit, the whole quality of your training will be elevated because the total number of distractions will be lower. Teach yourself how to stay focused, and lead by example by showing others how to follow suit.
How can we stay focused during training?
There are many ways to stay focused during training, but here are a few:
Be selfish in regards to your training
Be selfish. When it comes to training, you are not coming to training to help someone else get better (unless you are a coach!) – you are coming to make yourself better. If you are selfish, this means you will do anything for yourself to get better. You will aim to do more than others, work harder than others, etc. This will help you stay focused and get the most out of your trainings.
Avoiding distractions is broad, but I will touch on a few points here.
- Avoid joking around – jokes make you lose focus during training. Avoid engaging in jokes your teammates say and avoid bringing up your own. There’s always time to talk about these things after the practice is over!
- Avoid music – Many people like to workout or train with music playing in the background. I would say, strongly, to avoid music. In a real match, you will never have music playing in your ears. Try to simulate what would happen in a tournament as close as possible during your training.
- Don’t think about anything else – If you had anything else going on in your life, try to leave it all outside the door before you get to the gym. When you make the decision to get to the gym, only focus on that – anything else will make the quality of your training go down.
Stay focused (as focused as you can) during trainings! Hopefully, you will come to reap the rewards of this focus when you are able to bring this with you to tournaments. If you have any more questions about mental focus during training, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to talk with more about it to you! See you all in the next post!