Game Faces

The bright lights. The television cameras. The screaming fans. With all of these outside distractions, how in the world do big-time athletes get the job done on the field? The answer is concentration.

More than athletic ability: It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and talent to get to the professional level, no matter what sport you play. But it also takes something else. Pro athletes have the ability to block out the many distractions and focus on what they are doing. It's like the pressure students may face when they take a big test. The best way to handle the pressure is to concentrate on what you are doing and put on your game face.

Game faces: When you watch sports, you can almost see the concentration on athletes' faces. Their eyes are focused on the play and they are in the zone. The best big-game performers have the ability to block out the crowd noise and only hear the sounds of the game, like the coach calling the play or a teammate calling for a pass. In these situations, the game is the only thing that matters.

Golf: Golf is one sport in which concentration is incredibly important. In order to be a successful golfer, players have to hit a nearly perfect shot on every stroke. Even men and women who golf for fun understand this. The minute they lose focus, their ball is in the sand trap or lost in the woods! Now imagine having to use that same level of concentration, but with hundreds of fans crowded around and millions more watching on TV! That's what pro golfers like Tiger Woods and Lorena Ochoa go through every tournament.

Baseball/softball: Imagine trying to hit a 95 mile-per-hour fastball, or a softball that sinks toward the dirt the minute you take a swing at it. Hitting is one of the most difficult activities in all of sports. That's why baseball and softball players have some of the most intense game faces. Players have to focus incredibly hard on the pitcher. Some pro baseball players claim that they can see the red seams on the ball as it flies towards the plate!

No matter what sport you play, concentration is a huge part of it. Just like in school, players have to focus on what they are doing in order to succeed. So get your game face on!

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