Teaching athletes to understand their attention is teaching them to concentrate

Alex Oliver*, Paul J. McCarthy, Lindsey Burns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Concentration, focusing on the most relevant information for further processing, is regarded as a prerequisite for successful sporting performance. Athletes must possess awareness, knowledge, and controllability of their attention to concentrate effectively. One way to develop this awareness, knowledge, and controllability of attention is through the mechanism of meta-attention – thinking about, knowing about, and controlling attention. Meta-attention illuminates the underlying cognitive mechanisms that direct the attentional spotlight. We open with a brief background of attention and outline how concentration can be understood through a metacognitive lens. Next, we present Think Aloud Level 3 as a tool for capturing meta-attentional processes during sport performance. Finally, we discuss the applied implications of adopting a meta-attentional approach to understand concentration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sport Psychology in Action
Early online date4 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • attention
  • concentration
  • meta-attention
  • metacognition
  • think aloud
  • athletes

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