By Mike Hatfield
Special to Plumas News
Ever wanted to train like a Navy Seal? Army Special Forces? CIA? FBI? Professional and collegiate athletes? Well it’s not all brawn or endurance, the mind is what distinguishes the good from the great.
Being able to Refocus in sport, and pay Attention is a critical component of success. The ability to identify the W.I.N. (What’s Important Now) and bring your attention back to that present moment or Refocus is imperative to high performance.
Not into sports? Then just have a conversation with your spouse; attend a work meeting or a zoom call; read, drive, hike, or communicate with anyone. Every single activity we do requires attention and thus refocusing WHEN (not if) we become distracted.
As an extension to Lyla & Brodie’s Kindness Ninja Project at Quincy Elementary School, the Hatfields created and set up this modified Attention Activity along the bike path at Gansner Park. This free course will be down and back on the public paved bike path from Feather River College to the end of the path (NOT crossing river) in Quincy.
The course is designed for participants to begin at any entry point along the path, and is set up to be a down and back activity.
Level 1 – just tell your kids to spot as many characters along the trail as they can find.
Level 2 – find as many characters as possible and remember as many as you can. Write them down at the end of course.
Level 3 – find as many characters as you can and remember them in order. Write them down at the end of the course.
Level 4 – the Special Forces Challenge. Find as many characters as you can, correctly identify them in order, and time your run.
Answers will be posted online over the weekend at www.P3Perf.com/QuincyAttentionRun
Only those characters facing you are counted. You will never have to turn around to find a character. They are not hidden and all are a few feet from the path.
No registration. No fee. Just a fun, challenging, socially distance responsible activity for individuals and families.
Individual participation is suggested but the younger ones may need help. At the very least they will enjoy “spying” the images along the route and you might be surprised how many they can recall. (more on that later)
Walk, jog, run, just keep your head up and your eyes open!
FREE Refocus, Attention & Memory Run
WHO: All ages and hopefully families compete/enjoy it together.
WHAT is a Attention Run?: The Refocus, Attention & Memory Run requires individuals to search for “targets” (images/characters) posted along the route, remember those images, and be able to write them down at the end of the run/walk..
WHERE: Starting line is the paved path from Feather River College Athletic Complex next to soccer field. The images will be posted along the course the length of the path to Gansner Park and back. (The course is designed to be completed from any access point.)
WHEN: self-paced, socially distanced activity. Course will be set up for participation Friday, Dec 4 through Friday, Dec 11.
HOW: 1.) Bring a pen or pencil and a 3×5 card or piece of paper. LEAVE THESE IN YOUR CAR AS YOU RUN/WALK THE COURSE. 2.) Run/Walk the course and pay attention. The images will be randomly placed along the route, slightly off the path to the left and right. 3.) remember the images and the order you see them in. 4.) upon completion of course, write down the images and order you remember seeing them. 5.) Check your answers at www.P3Perf.com/QuincyAttentionRun
Advanced individuals can time their run on the course and check their accuracy. Add 5 seconds for every character remembered out of order. (Correct order will be listed online.)
Mike Hatfield is a Sport Psychology Consultant who works with NFL, NHL, Army Special Forces, Navy Seals, Marines, FBI, CIA, LEOs, and many collegiate and high schools athletes and teams. Mike is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Feather River College.
Attention is the basis of the learning process. Attention is needed in every act whether we are listening, reading, playing etc. We all know that attention is a useful skill, but how many people you know possess this skill? Being attentive makes you better at everything, as a student, worker, writer, actor, driver, leader and in any other position or profession. To gain this skill, you need to control the tendency of the mind to shift from one thought to another. (Refocus) Paying Attention and learning how to Refocus are skills that can be enhanced with practice.
Memory is the natural extension of attention and working memory, which is crucial for performing under stress, and is a tremendous asset on the battlefield, in sport and life. A strong working memory capacity, along with keen focus and impulse control, impacts a person’s ability to make decisions and be effective. Working Memory is the ability to hold information in your mind long enough to do something with it. We must pay attention in order to retain information, and retaining information means attending to it. Good working memory function is essential for intellectual ability and creative problem solving.
One of the most interesting distinctions to think about when we’re talking about athletes or soldiers and cognition is the difference between the reactive, lighting-quick decision making that happens on the field, and the slower, more deliberate though involved in what often gets called “strategy.” These begin with attention and the ability to refocus or toggle focus rapidly.
The snap decisions that athletes make in the heat of the moment on the field are based on a lot of information, and the decisions need to be made so quickly, that conscious thought is too slow. That athletes have these high-speed recognition abilities implies that something has been encoded into memory, but what? Do athletes and soldiers have superior memory? Some do yes, but it’s not that simple.
Repetition in training allows high performance individuals to store information for faster processing. We often hear announcers state these athletes are gifted with pure instincts for their sport or they move fast to the ball. It is in fact that these athletes have simply done their homework, trained or played their sport enough to have these situations stored as memories where they don’t have to actively “think” about what to do and they can then simply react.
Over time and many repetitions, the neural process for a task becomes sub-cognitive and demands less processing power. Elite athletes have more complete and accurate patterns in their memory to draw on and so, at times, can anticipate better than the rest of us.
These Special Forces Refocus & Memory Runs have been designed to work on: Attention Regulation, Refocus Techniques, Working Memory Capacity, Chunking, n-back strategies, Cues & Routines, Energy Management, and may even lead to enhanced physical endurance according to ground breaking new studies.