Don’t Get Distracted by Things You Cannot Control

Focus in Sports

How to Focus on What You Can Control

There are so many things outside your direct control in sports.

In sports, there are countless things you cannot control, for example:

  • playing time
  • judges’ scores
  • weather
  • referee calls
  • playing conditions
  • trash talking from the other team
  • spectators
  • injuries
  • teammates… the list goes on.

Focusing on the Uncontrollables Impacts you in a Number of Ways:

  • When you focus on the uncontrollables, you take your head out of the game.
  • When you focus on the uncontrollables, you create negative emotions.
  • When you focus on the uncontrollables, you are no longer immersed in the present moment.
  • When you focus on the uncontrollables, your performance declines rapidly.

Washington Redskins receiver, Terrelle Pryor, recently admitted that his play on the field has been affected because he was focusing on things outside of his control.

Pryor was a top free agent signed by Washington in the off-season, who was seen as a difference-maker and a player who could help the team get to the top.

Pryor’s production has dropped significantly this year and he was benched after one snap in the sixth game of the season against their divisional rivals.

After the game, Pryor apologized for his inconsistency and lack of on-field focus all stemming from his focus on an uncontrollable, playing time.

PRYOR: “I’m used to the rock in my hand early and often. I have great teammates and understand it’s not realistic with the great talent we have. That’s something that’s tough and an ongoing battle in my own mind. And I’m ready to control that focus and get back to pinning my ears back and playing ferocious how I know how! I’m ready.”

What Exactly Can you Control in Sports?


Your preparation includes: your level of training, your diet, your attention to mental skills, your game plan or competitive strategy, your technique, your competition warm-up, your pre-game routine, etc. When you prepare meticulously, you feel more confident and in control.


Effort includes: your training intensity, your competition intensity and your attention to technique refinement. Hard work often separates the good from the great.


Attitude includes: your mindset towards competition, your perspective towards adversity, the content of your thoughts, your approach to training and an arduous season, your response to mistakes and your response to bad officiating. Your attitude is everything when it comes to competing.


Your focus is what you choose to pay attention to. If you can focus on the positive and immerse yourself in the moment, you will give yourself a big advantage over your competition.

Focusing on the controllables will help you keep your head in the game, emotions in check and performing at your peak.

How to Focus on What You Can Control:

Focusing on what you can control is so important but you must know the certain aspects in your sport that you can control.

Make a list of all the things you can control in your sport, such as effort, your role, and attitude.

Be aware when you start to focus on what you can’t change or control in your sport. Notice when your mind is drifting to the uncontrollable things.

Quickly refocus on the important things that will help you execute your position in that moment.

Learn more about how to control your focus with “The Focused Athlete” audio and workbook program…

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