Before we look at what Mr. Klopp said, I want you to watch this video…
This tourist in the Wansheng Ordovician, a theme park in China’s Chongqing city, is jumping across the wooden planks. The drop between the planks is well over 100 metres, meaning instant death on hitting the ground. As you can see, his safety harness was not attached properly or broke during his crossing.
If you put those same planks on the floor and I asked you to jump over them, you probably wouldn’t hesitate. It’s clearly not difficult. The problem comes when the consequences for failure become serious. Now if I raised those planks to one metre off the ground, there will be some hesitation on your part and as the height increases, so does the anxiety.
The key point in my showing you the video though is that when you focus on the process NOT the consequences many tasks as not that hard. In squash terms, if you focus on playing the point, and can forget about the match, you will have more success.
I’ve used this video many times and written about it before, because I feel it’s a perfect illustration of “Process over Results”. if the man knew before he started that his harness was not attached, he wouldn’t have gone and he he had then he would probably have been thinking about what would happen if he fell.
Just to be clear, I am not suggesting you go free climbing or do some dangerous activity, simply to practice focusing on the present! Stay safe.
Back to Mr. Klopp
Let look at what he said. The image is taken from the BBC website.
He is talking about players who have been selected for the World Cup but have matches before then. Specifically it’s about getting injured, which is obviously a worry for players – who wants to get selected, but then have to miss the Cup because you got injured? Nobody, that would be horrible.
The ability to ignore distraction, both internally and externally is key to success. Being able to focus on the shot you are about to play and NOTHING else is a skill that can be learnt and improved over time.
“mindfulness” is the phrase that is used nowadays. “CONCENTRATE ON WHAT YOUA RE DOING!” was shouted at me in my school days, and besides the phrasing and delivery, the message is the same. Some schools even teach mindfulness, which I think is great.
Being able to ignore terrible refereeing decisions, not worrying about winning or losing, not getting frustrated when you timing is not quite right is part of being focused.
Focusing on your breathing between points can help, as well as being very clear about your gameplan. Shot execution should be subconscious, but you could definitely focus on elements of your swing that you know need extra attention or even just things that improve your swing. For example, I always find focusing on the position and angle of the butt of the racket as I prepare my forehand makes a big difference.
The past has gone, the future will come whatever we do, the only time that we have direct control. over is now. Focus on that and let the future take care of itself. Clichéd and trite, but true.