Losing Concentration on Track? An Easy Tip from a Tennis Pro

Losing Concentration on Track? You’re Not Alone

You know that feeling, don’t you? When you’re fully concentrated on track during a race or track session, in the zone, everything is going perfectly, and then… not so much. It’s a common occurrence for many drivers. So, what’s the solution?

We’ve often been advised to “stay in the moment,” forget the past, and avoid getting lost in thoughts of the future. But let’s face it, that’s easier said than done. What if there’s a different approach we could adopt?

A recent BBC interview with Novak Djokovic (or download here), one of the most successful tennis players in history, got me thinking about this. There’s so much we can learn from him, especially when it comes to applying his techniques to maintain concentration on track. Take a read of the BBC interview and then below are my thoughts.

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Djokovic’s Approach: The Power of Self-Compassion

Renowned for his mental strength and match endurance, Djokovic presents an unexpected strategy for maintaining concentration. “It’s important not to be too hard on yourself,” he advises.

For perfectionists and over-achievers constantly striving for better results, this concept might seem at odds with their mindset.

Yet, Djokovic’s emphasis on self-compassion introduces a whole new dimension to potentially help improve our performance and concentration on track.

The Overlapping Worlds of Tennis and Motorsport

At first glance, tennis and motorsport might seem worlds apart. One requires sprinting across a court; the other involves steering a high-speed vehicle around a track.

Yet both demand intense concentration, precision, and continual improvement.

Djokovic, unbeaten at Wimbledon for a decade at the time of writing, is known for his meticulous attention to every detail, even down to his shoe design (see the article for more on his shoes!)

This emphasis on incremental improvements provides us with an invaluable lesson for maintaining our concentration on track.

The Power of Marginal Gains in Motorsport

In motorsport, every second counts. Each adjustment, no matter how minor, can significantly impact your race performance.

This idea is encapsulated in the concept of ‘marginal gains’ – something I spent over a decade delivering for Olympic and Professional Sports teams.

But these aren’t just about tweaking your equipment or strategy. As Djokovic shows, they’re also about being mentally prepared.

Feeling fully prepared before the race starts can give you huge confidence and relax you – which is key for maintaining your concentration on track.

Consistency: More Than Just Fast Laps

In motorsports, we often judge our success based on the timing of a single lap.

However, Djokovic’s approach encourages us to focus on an aggregate gain or, in simpler terms, consistency across multiple laps.

It’s the minor distractions—the wrinkle in the sock, the slight discomfort in the seat—that can hinder your concentration on track in that scenario.

Yes, it is subtle stuff. But the lesson for me here is that whatever you can do to make your life easier – with attention to all these smaller details – will translate into your overall performance significantly improving.

The Acceptance Strategy

Perhaps one of Djokovic’s most significant lessons is the power of acceptance.

Clearing your mind or staying in the present is, after all, a tough task during a race.

Instead, Djokovic proposes that we accept that our minds will wander.

The real challenge therefore, and the key to improving your concentration on track, lies in our ability to recover and refocus quickly.

“One of the biggest lessons I have learned about mental strength in matches is that, if you lose your focus, if you are not in the present and things have started to go the wrong way for you, then it is fine. You just have to accept it, and then come back.

“I think that recovery, or how long you stay in that negative emotion, is what differentiates you from other players.

“The recovery is more important than working hard to stay in the present, because it is almost impossible to stay there all the time. It’s about how quickly you can get back…

Novak Djokovic

This is a huge insight for me. You are not working to eliminate your mind wondering and the negative emotions you might feel. These you should accept as human traits.

What you’re really working towards are techniques to recover your concentration and your performance level quicker than your opponent can.

Conscious Breathing: A Tool for Recovery

How does Djokovic manage this quick recovery?

He uses what he calls ‘conscious breathing’, a mindfulness technique to re-centre himself during a match.

But this is less about the specific method and more about defining your actual challenge—accepting that your performance might drop, but then finding ways to quickly get back your concentration on track.

Insights from Champions: The Open Secret

What’s astonishing about professional athletes like Djokovic is their openness in sharing their coping strategies.

Even though it provides them with a competitive advantage, they understand the value of shared knowledge and continual learning.

For us, a willingness to explore new techniques from other sports presents a golden opportunity to learn and improve our own concentration on the track.

Professional sports interviews can often feel generic, but Djokovic’s refreshing honesty offers a peek into how he manages high-pressure situations.

This transparency about his approach can provide you with tools and lessons to cope with similar situations in your own motorsport journey.

I hope you found these insights as fascinating as I did and that you’re open to trying new methods. This isn’t about reinventing the wheel; it’s about finessing your driving technique, similar to adjusting your car’s suspension or perfecting your shoe choice, like Djokovic.

So, are you ready to take these lessons from the tennis court to the racetrack? I’d love to hear your experiences or any additional insights you might have.

Be sure to sign up below and let me know if you give this method a try!

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