Junior Players Focus Circle with Louis Ross

How to Help Athletes Perform and Thrive under Pressure with our Juniors

04 May 2023 / By Elly Shearman

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Louis Ross, Sport and Exercise Psychologist in Training (SEPiT), continues to work with our Juniors, working on their psychological part of the game.

Louis’ latest blog

Taken from Hansen & Haberl’s (2020) Chapter in Mindulness and Acceptance in Sport: How to Help Athletes Perform and Thrive under Pressure, the Focus Circle (Tool 1 image below) and 3R process (more details below) can be used separately, but they also fit together very well.

It’s important to note that the order of purple, orange, red, and grey are not the “next best” areas to be focusing on. They are just other areas where our mind wanders to and for you to notice.

Step 1

The faster we can identify how we are feeling and what thoughts we are experiencing (Registering), the easier it becomes to Release and Refocus. This is where the 3R process comes in and why the focus circle can help set us up for the 3Rs. First of all, it’s important that we accept the thoughts/feelings/sensations that are coming up without trying to get rid of, or change them. This is because struggling with the thoughts such as “Don’t make another mistake” or “I’m going to lose” can often keep us away from our Blue Focus for even longer. Registering looks like: being accepting & non-judgemental of our thoughts and feelings.

Step 2

Step 2 involves a number of “unhooking” skills that help us Release. If you notice in the video, documents & infographic, the aim is to not get rid of anything, but to manage it in a more useful way. “I’m thinking that…” or “I’m noticing that I’m having this thought: ” are great ways to create distance from the hindering thought that you might be having, or trying to avoid such as “I’m scared that I’m going to double fault and embarrass myself”.
Releasing looks like: “Naming and taming”, identify what category you are in & use one of the unhooking skills to move you closer to refocusing.

Step 3

Step 3 is all about Refocusing. The priority in this final section is to remind yourself of what exactly your Blue Focus looks like (something to do if you don’t quite know). Useful reminders to ask yourself include:

  • What is my game plan and the teams game plan (and how can I help execute it?)
  • What are my strengths? (Am I playing to them?)
  • What techniques can I use to help me focus?
  • When I am Blue Focused, what does that actually look like? What would I be doing and how would I be behaving?

Need more information?

Contact Elly Shearman Tennis Coaching on
Tel: 07581 237260
Email: ellytennis.Kings@hotmail.com

Elly Shearman

Elly Shearman is an adult and children's tennis coach based in Bristol. Passionate about grassroots tennis and enabling everyone to have access to playing the sport whatever their age or ability.

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