In order to win and achieve good results in sports, there are important areas other than physical abilities like strength and skill. Specifically, “concentration” and “intuition” play a key part. But unlike physical abilities, these are not measurable. How can we train ourselves in these areas?
It is very important to keep up good concentration. One must concentrate hard not only during practice but in the build up toward the real match. In order to do that, one must create an environment where it is easy to concentrate. Those who cannot concentrate well during practice or matches should try to figure out the reason. One of the factors that robs one of concentration is “thinking too much”.
Some people constantly think up thoughts like “How can I win this match?” or “Isn’t there a better way?” When you are always thinking about something, whether it is during practice, match, or in everyday life, you are unable to focus on what is really important. This can affect your long term results, so if you are inclined to think too much during the day, you should be careful.
There is so much information out there that can occupy our minds, but that is only information. What is really important is your own self-belief, so try and believe in yourself as you work on your kendo. Do not think too much about other things, but focus on the goals in front of you and that will naturally lead to better concentration.
Setting too many goals can be another reason for poor concentration. Setting goals is of course important, but having too many will cause your mind to wander off in different places in rob you of concentration. Start by having one short-term achievable goal. Focus on the goal in front of you, and when that is achieved you can move onto the next step. It is important to allow yourself to focus on one goal.
One way that is said to be effective in improving your concentration is meditation. Meditation involves closing your eyes and sitting still and trying to calm your mind. Meditation allows you to get rid of extra thoughts, and in the end achieve a place of thoughtlessness. This is different from the silent meditation done before practice. It allows you to become thoughtless and concentrate your mind. These effects can last not only during or immediately after the meditation, but can help you concentrate better during practice and matches.
An important aspect in outhitting your opponent is “intuition”. When you are in a sticky situation during the match, by working your intuition you can seize the flow of the match back in your favor. The meaning of this “intuition” is to “perceive things that you cannot observe with your eyes”. This ability does not come automatically but is nurtured through daily practice.
Sure, some people have this naturally, but usually it is acquired through daily practice. Anyone can chase after things that can be seen or heard, but there is a limit to that. Intuition is an ability beyond that, and you can even say it is a unique ability held by each person. Someone who lacks intuition may think he has found a weakness in his opponent, only to find himself defeated before he can exploit that. If you have good intuition, you can spot the weakness quickly and fight back. This is usually acquired through hard practice each day but thinking through each step. Those who feel they lack this intuition should start today and be more mindful of it during practice. It is never too late.
Both concentration and intuition are not measurable in numbers, so it is difficult to train them. But if you can acquire these and apply them in real matches, then you can achieve results that far surpass your raw ability. You can achieve better performances through training both your body and mind in good balance.