Shikhar Dhawan, the Indian cricket team’s opening batsmen is going through a purple patch in the middle part of 2017. When asked about the happy zone he is in at the moment [TOI 21/08/17] he said he wanted to enjoy the moment and not lose sleep over the law of averages that would catch up in the future.
He remarked- I am embracing the successful period now. When I was not doing well I was focusing on my processes. When I am doing well I am still focused on my processes.
What does Shikhar mean by being in the process? According to Dictionary.com PROCESS is referred to as a continuous action, operation or series of changes taking place in a definite manner [to bring about a specific result].
Sports persons have to perform series of movements or actions based on the opponent moves or respond to a moving ball or a shuttle or even a stationary ball or a target. And, for this process to happen successfully the conscious mind has to be brought to a focus to the now and what needs to be done next. This is what is commonly referred to as present moment awareness.
The saga of most sports persons is that they are lost in the past or thinking about the future instead of being in the present moment- the here and now. They are still thinking about the set they just lost or the previous mistake they committed OR they may be thinking far ahead about the victory celebrations or worry about the shame they would have to experience if they lost.
When a person is lost in thoughts [internal distractors] he is bound to lose concentration and lapses in concentration lead to performance errors and improper decision making. The resultant effect could be in the decrements of performance.
More often than not, sportsperson carry bagful of painful memories, thoughts of setbacks or future insecurities which could haunt them during performance thus robbing them of the power of now.
The wise men have said- the past is history, future is mystery and the present is the PRESENT. We can’t change the past and the future is yet to descend but we can ruin a perfect present by worrying about them-both. One must remember that it is in the present that all the challenges have to be fought.
It is not entirely wrong to look in to the past or think about the future. If so, when is the right time to look in to them? The right time would be the practice sessions. We have to approach the practice sessions with the TRIPOD CAMERA in mind.
The idea of the tripod camera was suggested by Mr Spencer Johnson in his bestselling book- THE PRESENT He say’s – the camera is the person- THE FOCUS. The first leg represents the PAST and what we have learnt from them, the second leg represents FUTURE– what plans we have for the future. The third leg represents the PRESENT.
So, folks when you are in a performance 1] be in the present moment 2] do not do conscious thinking 3] be aware of what is happening around you 4] trust your natural instincts and let go 5] things will happen on their own.
Methods that could teach a person to be in the present:-
By Meditation- focusing on the breath.
By Centering – by taking a deep breath during moments of distraction.
By focusing on each of your senses for about 10 seconds.
By focusing on an object like the tree, your racquet, or the net, or looking at a particular colour: green / blue – just to take your mind away from thoughts & distractions.
By Trataka [gazing] – gazing at a flame or a point on the wall.