Focus > 2 Focus Hacks So Teens Can Crush It When It Matters

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Whether teens are getting ready for the upcoming ACT or if they have an important competitive event coming up, being able to Focus is important.

Many teens know this, but they don’t know how. For example, a sixteen-year-old equestrian practiced years to qualify for a national show jumping competition. She was at a distinct disadvantage because her horse was not as talented, nor as well trained as those of her competitors. Regardless, she eventually reached her dream and qualified to compete. Unfortunately she went off course in both of her classes and was disqualified. She felt as though her four years of hard work were erased in five minutes. What happened? “I was consumed by issues I had no control over, and I just lost focus on what was important,” she later reflected.

Here are a couple tips to help teens focus, especially when it matters:

1) Have a pre-game ritual.
It can be very simple, but needs to be consistent before every event, whether it is a scrimmage, major competition, quiz or final exam. Examples of rituals include having a small drink of water, taking four deep breaths, or tapping their leg three times etc. It will help “clear the slate” and calm the mind.

2) Create deliberate themes for an event.
Assume the best will happen, and channel energy toward what is necessary to perform well. For example, a tennis player’s themes might include: 1). Being patient for winners. 2). Following through on groundstrokes. Keep it simple. The last two points could simply be reduced to: "be patient" and "follow through." It’s very important that these one or two things are controllable.

Athletes and students typically perform best when they are calm, carefree (of the outcome) and focused. By returning to key themes, teens will keep their focus on what’s important at critical moments. It is helpful if parents can be calm and carefree of the outcome as well.

Parent's or Coach's Tip

Ask teens one or two of the most important themes he or she will need to think about during an event and challenge them to be very aware of those themes for the duration of the event.

If you found this content helpful, I encourage you to share it with your teen and with your friends on Facebook.

I am here to support you and to make this content real.

Here’s to you being awesome!


Mental Toughness is the tool belt or catalyst which helps teens to make consistent progress and to be happy along the way. Please check out the library of (free) resources on my website (www.SherylKline.com) or schedule an appointment with me if you’d like to learn more!

Please do share if you found this helpful, and keep your eyes open for "Mental Toughness Mastery" which is my new monthly livecast coming out in the next couple of weeks! I am SO excited to share this with you, and you will be the first to know once it is launched!


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