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How to train your focus ability
When someone tells you to focus they often expect you to magically become able to intensely concetrate in a task or objective regardless of the situation, but in fact, concentration is something you can and have to train in order to do it better, faster, and deeper. Your physical muscles and your attention "muscles" have something in common, both have a limited ammount of strenght and their stamina can be trained in order to make them stronger.
The problem about not training our focus is that the time it requires for us to concentrate again after we get distracted is 25 minutes average, that means game over in terms of e-sports, therefore the relevance of training focus as a player is key for success.
You probably been into that situation where at the beggining of the game you say "I am going to carry, let's go", then suddenly everything starts going wrong, you lose your focus, you get distracted by the situation and that motivation, that concentration you collected at the beggining is lost, and as I've said, it takes 25 minutes average to recover it, so it's likely game over.
Distractions are not something exclusively external like a loud noise that disturbs you, a phonecall, your mom knocking your door, it's something that pulls you away from your goals and objectives whether it's coming from your senses, or from within yourself.
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Concentrating is key for success but, nowadays, we're constantly distracted, connected every second, we don't enjoy our food because we're sharing what we eat in Instagram, we don't focus while we work because we review our Facebook or Twitter feed, we don't sleep because we're chatting in WhatsApp, we don't take a shower and relax because we rather take a bath and like some photos on Snapchat, we're not able to identify distraction, because we're constantly distracted from everything, and this type of lifestyle makes it even harder to concentrate in a single task.
So... how do we change that?, how do we learn to focus when we require it?
Simple in terms of concept, hard in terms of execution, but we'll have to train 3 disciplines in a dialy basis in order to train our attention muscles.
First discipline, focus. This is relative to our ability to focus in a single object, concept, or image.
Second discipline, perception. This is relative to our ability to percieve all singularities of an element.
Third discipline, adaptation. This is relative to our ability to move our attention from one element to another without losing intensity.
Image rights to Ivan "Mushy" Prats
Top center: Focus
Bottom right: Perception
Bottom left: Adaptation
It will help you with your microgame; farming, cooldowns, resources in lane, and using better your knowledge.
This exercise is going to be pretty simple, and has a lot to do with the BREATHING exercise I've explained previously.
Firstly sit with our back straight, our legs aligned, in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and start breathing the way I explained in my YouTube seminar and Breathing article. Focus on the part of the body that feels the breathing more intense, whether is the mouth, nose, chest or belly.
The basics of this exercise is to concentrate fully in your breathing, listen to it, feel it, as soon as our mind starts to get lost in other thoughts, like what your friend told you before, like what you're going to eat for dinner, like your current ELO, or whatever, get back to your breathing.
That's a mind push up, keep focusing in your breathing for 5 minutes, you'll probably get overwhelmed by thoughts, by sounds, by hundreds of sensorial and emotional distractions that will pull you away from your breathing, but every single time you realise that and get back to your breathing, it will be a repetition, the more repetitions you do, the stronger your focus will be.
It will help you with your awareness; minimap, scape routes, buff spawns, and understanding better the situation.
This exercise is going to be a bit harder to perform, however the basics are also pretty simple.
We need to get out of home, and go to the nearest park, the more flowers, trees, and vegetation there is, the better. Sit on a bench and relax. Close your eyes and smell, that simple, smell. The smell sense is the one that needs more concentration. To percieve different scents you have to focus heavily.
Sit there until you identify 3 different scents, each flower and plant has it's own particular fragance, leaving your mind blank and trying to sense the particularities of each smell will improve your sensorial perception.
Focusing in only 1 fragance (target) among all the fragances you'll sense (distractions) will improve your ability to concentrate in one task or objective.
Repeat this exercise for 10 minutes, don't rush it, take your time finding and recognizing each scent, slowly and carefully, enjoy the process and you'll see results.
A variation of this training is the "fruity focus" exercise, which has similar benefits than the previous exercise, you can do both, but preferably do the first one, and this one as a reinforcement.
Pick up a fruit, it's irrelevant which one, a banana, an apple, an orange. Put it between your hands and look at it, spend 5 minutes just watching the fruit, its form, color, counting its imperfections, composition, smell, its texture, spend 5 full minutes to just ignore everything else but the fruit, the fruit is your only motivation and object of interest, there's nothing else for 5 minutes. The more things you find out about that fruit, the better. You can eat the fruit afterwards as a reward.
Your mind will probably notice the irrelevance of that action and start thinking about something else, but you have to be capable of controlling your own focus and directing your attention wherever you find suitable, force yourself to keep paying attention to the fruit.
Everytime you think "this is stupid" and put your attention somewhere else (briefly) then get back to analysing the fruit, it will be a push up for your attention muscles.
It will help you with your macrogame; switching targets in teamfights, wave control, decission making, and adapting to different situations.
Adaptative focus is very important because allows you to switch your attention from one thing to another without losing intensity.
To train this kind of attention, just sit in a chair towards your living room, your bedroom, or wherever you can remain in silence and concentrate.
The objective of this training is watch an object for 30 seconds (use an alarm APP or something to let you track time without paying attention to a clock), memorize the object, visualize it in your brain, focus completely on that object; your mom's old vase, the TV controller, the sofa, the table... anything else in your sight should be blurry, then after 30 seconds, switch to another object and do the same.
Keep doing this for 5 minutes (10 objects).
All this exercises have alternatives, however I recommend this ones because are the ones I use myself and are the ones I liked more and found the most usefull when I did my research.
This routine will take 20 dialy minutes, and you'll start noticing the rewards of your training the first week. Keep working hard and train your brain and attention muscles to maximize your playstyle.
After all, what defines your skill is your brain, imagine how much better you could be if you train it.