CONCENTRATION IN SOCCER
Concentration is one of the most important keys that can be put at the service of the athlete to improve his performance both in competition and in training.
Concentration is defined as:
“The focusing of all attention on the relevant aspects of a task, ignoring or eliminating others. The specificity of concentration is that it is about directing the totality of attention and not just a part of it to the task we are executing.”
From a practical point of view, athletes should be aware of the existence of different attentional styles, which connect the different focuses of attention and the different situations of execution. This differentiation is important because when we talk about attention we are referring, in reality, to several levels in which it can manifest itself, so that distinguishing them is absolutely necessary because a player can adequately dominate one of these styles, but have more difficulties in dominating the others.
From the combination of the two dimensions and their further divisions result four different styles of concentration, which correspond to four different ways of focusing attention:
– Broad – external attention. This occurs when the athlete focuses his attention on a large number of stimuli and on stimuli outside himself. It corresponds mainly to evaluation situations, i.e., it is adequate to react to rapidly changing situations of the game (such as the launching of a counterattack).
– Wide – internal attention. The athlete pays attention to his physical or mental state. It is the type of attention suitable for example to analyze and mentally plan a game strategy for a given situation.
– Narrow attention – external. The athlete focuses his attention on a specific stimulus in the environment (for example, on the right corner of a free kick).
– Narrow – internal attention. This occurs when the athlete directs attention to himself/herself. It is appropriate to prepare to perform an action by mental review or to examine the level of tension.