If you follow our posts and content, it’s probably obvious to you that it’s important to be mindful in the way you choose to direct your focus. AND how you phrase your self-talk.
If you say, for example, “don’t miss this shot” right before you shoot a free throw…ummm guess what… You’re probably going to miss that shot.
The brain doesn’t know that ‘not’ doesn’t mean to NOT think of it. Let me rephrase that: “the brain does not know not.” Confused?
For example, if I say, don’t think of the colour pink. Or, DON’T think of a pink elephant, chances are your brain flashed one on the screen of your mind.
Still not tracking?
Think of your brain like Google (a much less knowledgeable Google🙃).
If you typed into your Google Search “Don’t Justin Bieber”, you’re going to get a page full of Justin Bieber. Get it? Same same (but different) with your brain.
So how do you “fix” this problem?
Phrase your focus cues in a positive way (if you don’t know what a cue is – check out our free videos).
Gould and Weinberg state, “trying NOT to perform a specific action can inadvertently trigger its response. Whatever you do, don’t double fault now. Don’t drive the ball into the lake. Don’t choke. We should focus on what TO do. Not what NOT to do” (Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology).
When you are starting to create your focus plan, you always want to think about what TO do – something positive, instructional, or at the very least, some sort of neutral thought.
Learn to use your mind or your mind will use you. Actions follow our thoughts and images. Don’t look where you don’t want to go. – Gary Mack
See you on your mat.