The Time in Between Plays

Some of the most important times in games are the times between plays. Almost every athlete can focus decently during the time of play, when you have something obvious to pay attention to, such as the ball, but not every athlete can focus well in between plays, when it's harder to find something to attach your attention to. This is when athletes get distracted most often. During the time between plays, whether in the huddle or on the bench, your mind can get distracted. You can start to dwell in the past or think too far in the future. This overthinking can cause overconfidence or discouragement. Then once the next play begins, you're often not able to refocus in time, which can lead to mistakes. This happens very often in sports such as tennis and football, with small breaks in between lots of plays/points. It is also very prevalent in sports with longer breaks in between action, such as golf and baseball. The longer time in between action, the more time there is to get distracted and overthink.

Therefore, it is very important to stay focused in between plays. You need to find something to attach your attention to. You can focus on your breathing to stay in the present moment and prevent negative thoughts from entering your mind. If you're on the bench, you can stay engaged in the game, think strategically, and talk to your coaches. You can focus on hydrating, catching your breath, resting your body, or keeping it warm/active. Whatever you do, make sure you're ready physically and mentally for the next play!

So many games are lost not necessarily because of what happens during the plays, but what happens in between plays. This can be an easy fix. You just have to be committed to staying focused in between plays.