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TUESDAY TIP: Practice 'Candle Gazing for Focus Skills

pickleball superstore tools, tips and techniques for improving your pickleball game

"Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety." 

-Jack Nicklaus

Tuesday's Tip is an easy exercise to help you stay present and focused during sports performance. It is "candle gazing," a simple practice that can spark significant change. Candle gazing can help you achieve greater focus, concentration, and awareness.

Developing greater focus gives you a decisive advantage; it allows you to focus your attention and make better decisions properly. Simply put, it can make the difference between success and failure. This easy yet powerful tool can be an excellent asset for any athlete! 

Candle Gazing involves focusing on a candle flame for a set amount of time, usually around 5-10 minutes. Here's how to do it:

  1. Find a quiet, dimly lit space where you won't be disturbed. Set up a candle on a table or flat surface at eye level.
  2. Sit comfortably in a chair or on a cushion, with your back straight and your feet on the ground.
  3. Light the candle and take a few deep breaths to center yourself.
  4. Gaze at the flame without blinking or looking away. Try to maintain a soft focus without straining your eyes.
  5. Notice any thoughts or distractions that come up, but don't engage with them. Instead, gently bring your attention back to the flame.
  6. Continue to gaze at the flame for 5-10 minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.

Take This Tip to the Pickleball Court

After practicing "candle gazing" at home, take this technique to the pickleball court.  Focus on the ball being served to you.  Watch the ball all the way to where it hits your pickleball paddle.  Do the same on 3rd shots, 5th shots, etc.  Also, focus on the ball during your pickleball serve routine.  Once you get comfortable with your focus in those areas, start practicing it at the non-volley zone / kitchen line during dink and speed up battles.

By practicing this exercise regularly, you'll be better equipped to concentrate and stay present in the moment - not only during sports performance but also when dealing with distractions or feeling anxious. When you get too caught up in worrying about an outcome, you can lose sight of what matters most - how well you play and your overall well-being! By staying mindful while playing a sport or the game of life, you'll find yourself performing with greater poise and assurance - elevating your outcomes even further. So light it up!



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