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Concentration. David Joun, Cindy Nguyen, Xarier Zamudio. What is it to Concentrate. To direct or draw toward a common center; focus. Being able to direct attention to relevant and important information Concentration

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David Joun, Cindy Nguyen,

Xarier Zamudio

What is it to Concentrate

To direct or draw toward a common center; focus.

Being able to direct attention to relevant and important information


The act or process of concentrating, especially the fixing of close, undivided attention.

Concentration Lapse

  • Performance progressively deteriorating and when it seems impossible to regain control

  • An example of this is “Choking”

Examples of “Choking”

  • Preparing a great deal for an exam only to perform poorly during the day of the exam

  • Shooting a game winning free-throw only to miss it due to nerves and anxiety

  • Going for the game winning hole at the PGA master’s but missing the hole

  • Missing the game winning field goal

Experience of Concentration Lapse

Approaches to understand Concentration and Attention

  • Informational Processing

  • Psycho-Sociological Approach

  • Psycho-Physiological Approach

What is informational processing overall

Informational Processing

  • Selective Attention

    • "process by which certain information from the internal or external environment enters the information-processing system while other information is screened out or ignored."

Informational Processing

  • We're constantly given too much information from internal and external environment.

  • Selective Attention necessary so only "few stimuli are processed"

  • selection is "voluntary" or "involuntary"

Informational Processing

  • main role in both learning and performing sports

    • stimuli essential for a particular performance change as function of practice and skill improvement

    • For example in wrestling one of the most important things is the take down aside for the ground game, thus one will selectively practice that

Informational Processing

  • conscious process to smooth unconscious process

    • control and automatic processing

  • control processing: "used to process novel or inconsistent information“

    • slow, effortful, capacity limited, controlled by individual

      • EX: typewriting

  • automatic processing: "performance of well-learned skills“

    • fast, effortless, not under direct conscious control

      • EX. skills developed over yrs of practice; a golfer swinging club after years of practice puts less effort and attention to it then a beginner

Attention Capacity

  • "control processing is limited in amount of information that can be processed at one time“

    • one complex task at hand at one time; hard to focus attention on 2 sources of information at one time

    • multi-tasking may impair performance

  • Restrictions

    • structural capacity limitations

    • central capacity limitations

  • structural: 2 tasks performed at same time using same receptor or effector systems

    • EX. listening to starter's gun at the same time listening to a voice in the crowd

  • capacity: 2 tasks compete for limited central information-processing capacity simultaneously

  • capacity limitations of automatic processing are less restrictive compared to control processing

Attentional Alertness

Psycho-sociological Approach

  • Distraction theories

  • Automatic Functioning

  • Attentional Style

Distraction Theories

  • "focus on loss of attention caused by factors that attract attention to task-irrelevant cues."

    • An athlete running a marathon

      • Lose concentration, lose focus and performance suffers

Distraction Theories

  • Worry

    • Anxiety

  • worry as an emotional state distracts attention and thus can explain the negative effects of test anxiety on performance

    • anxious individuals focus attention on task-irrelevant thoughts and ignore critical task cues

    • Not focusing on what is important

Distraction Theories

  • Defeating thought

    • Negative Thinking

    • Positive Thinking

      • Taking a Test

        • Negative “I am not going to pass”

        • Positive “Cant wait to party this weekend”

Distraction Theories

  • self-awareness

    • While performing, attending to oneself not focusing

    • some say "it is impossible to attend to oneself and to the environment at the same time"

      • Self Talk

    • Outside environment

      • Cameras, pressure

Automatic Functioning

  • relates to automatic processing

    • Typing, Texting, Piano

  • In competitive situations, when individuals realize importance of correct skill execution, they attempt to ensure success by consciously changing it

    • normally under automatic processing control now under control processing mechanism

Attentional Style

Attentional Style

  • Broad-external: requires individual to focus on a wide area of external environment

    • Volleyball, Basketball

  • Broad-internal: attention is focused internally on a variety of strategies and past experience

    • Coach of a football team

Attentional Style

  • Narrow-external: appropriate for activities that require individual to focus on a narrow aspect of the external environment; e.g. golf ball

    • Golf, Bowling, Football Quarterback

  • Narrow-internal: attending to specific images or cognitive cues

    • Body building, Marathon running

Attentional Style

  • may affect performance in certain situations if athlete's style is incompatible with the attentional requirements of that situation

    • i.e., Football, baseball, race car driving

Attentional Style

  • There are tools to measure attention which assess strengths and weaknesses

    • TAIS-Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style

      • Scale only Measure the Narrow-Broad Dimension but not Internal-External dimensions

Psycho-Physiological Approach

  • Examples of Psycho-Physiological aspects concerning concentration and attention

    • Can’t focus because your hungry

    • Can’t focus because your sleepy

    • Can’t focus because your sick

    • Even having to go to the bathroom

Psycho-Physiological Approach

  • This approach involves the investigation of component parts of auto regulation:

    • EEG, evoked response potentials (ERPs), and Heart Rate

  • Pro Golfers and Putting

  • Elite Shooters

  • Professional Athletes

  • Archers and elite shooters have been tested using EEG

    • As performance increased the profile of the EEG resembled elite archers

    • Heart decreased

    • Too much activity of the alpha waves gave a poorer performance

  • Things that can improve the physiological response

    • Breathing

    • Progressive muscular relaxation

    • Autogenic training

    • Meditation

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