Present-Moment Focus

Written by Petra Kowalski of Performance Colorado

I’m guessing at some point in your Ultimate or athletic career, you’ve heard advice like this:

“Keep your head in the game!”
“Stay focused.”
“The only point that matters is this point!”
“Stop worrying about the past or thinking about the future, just stay in the now!”

Were you able to do it on command? Or were you left wondering how to do it?

If you’re in that latter group of people left wondering how to keep your mind in the present instead of wandering back to the past or into the future, I’ve got a quick exercise you can use to train your mind to come to the present moment on command.

The exercise itself is simple and often works in the moment you need it. However, for the most lasting effects and to develop the most control over your mind, I highly recommend practicing regularly. I’ve suggested a few example times to use this exercise below, and would love to hear from you all about when/where you find it most useful!

Today's Journal Work

Grounding Exercise:
Anytime you would like to be grounded in the present moment, wherever you are, think of…

3 things you can see
3 things you can hear
3 things you can physically feel

For example, at a tournament this might sound like:
See: my teammates, people’s stuff on the sidelines, and the green grass.
Hear: cheers and sideline talk near and far away, cars driving by the fields, and some team’s block rocker playing music. 
Feel: the heat of the sun, the slight breeze, and the earth under my cleats.

Suggested moments to practice Grounding:

At practice:

  • Right when you arrive
  • When you are cleating up
  • When your coach/captain is about to explain a drill or strategy
  • As you’re throwing to warm-up

At tournaments:

  • When you first arrive at your field
  • Anytime you start to feel a little nervous or jittery
  • Between points or games as a ‘reset’ button
  • On the line before the pull

During life:

  • While you’re driving
  • When you’re working out
  • At school/the office when you’re overwhelmed
  • Anytime you find your mind somewhere else when you’d rather be in the present

**A super-cool bonus to this exercise is that you can use it with another person. If you notice a teammate zoning out, overwhelmed or unable to focus, ask if you can walk them through an exercise to help them come back to the present. You might be surprised at the results!**

Laurel Oldershaw