Lack of focus is a very common problem that we all have faced before. It isn’t like we are intentionally sabotaging ourselves, but that doesn’t change the fact that losing focus can slow scratch progress down to a crawl if it isn’t dealt with properly. If you look at anyone who is truly great at scratching you can place a sure bet that they didn’t become excellent by accident. An extreme ability to deeply concentrate was developed to aid them on their journey.
Think about a pro baseball player with a high average of homeruns. If a great level of concentration didn’t exist within their mind it’s obvious they wouldn’t be so accomplished. Even hitting just one homerun in any circumstance against a masterful pitcher requires an amazing amount of focus. The odds are already stacked against you even if you have perfect focus, so you could imagine how greatly your ability would suffer without the concentration needed to take on the challenge.
It All Starts In Practice
If you are unable to focus effectively in a practice situation you shouldn’t really expect to possess intense focus anywhere else. So the question is how much concentration do you lack and when do you lack it? The best way to begin determining this is to watch for what kind of thoughts you are having while practicing a specific technique or scratch combo. If your thoughts are wandering to other scratches that have nothing to do with what you’re working on that’s a problem. If you’re having thoughts that have absolutely nothing to do with scratching that’s an even bigger problem. The more often your thoughts deviate the more you’ll have to actively work on improving your ability to remain focused on what you want at the specific time you choose to do so.
1st Level Distractions
When you start thinking of other scratches instead of the item you’ve chosen to work on you’re likely also doing those scratches. A lot of times this leads to doing stuff you’re already good at. While doing what is comfortable can be fun, it completely defeats the purpose of improving your scratching by working on something specific that you’re struggling with. Remember, the more time you spend working on your problem areas the quicker you’ll progress. So be sure to note when you are not practicing what you set out to do and get back on track immediately. Any good or bad habit is developed out of regularity so by always making sure to refocus your concentration back to what matters, the more naturally you’ll do so as time goes on.
2nd Level Distractions
Thoughts that have absolutely nothing to do with scratching are the most detrimental of all. The obvious reason being that if you are not even thinking about scratching, you’re likely letting all sorts of mistakes go by completely unnoticed, thus never even allowing yourself the chance to correct them. There are many reasons for this, but the most common one is boredom.
If you feel like drilling a scratch technique or pattern is a monotonous process for you, it’s important to remind yourself of why you’re practicing that particular item in the first place. When you focus too much on the process it’s all too easy to lose patience and become bored because the process is the hardest part. It’s the result that we all treasure and enjoy having under our belt and so that is what your mind should be concerned with most.
All that being said, let’s not confuse emotional intent with completely unrelated thinking. Meaning, if you want to express something that you’re practicing with a specific emotional feeling, you may want or need to think of something outside the realm of scratching. Some examples might include a rainy day or a fight scene in a movie. These types of thoughts when used correctly by tying them closely to the technique or combo in question can be very effective for self expression when scratching and shouldn’t be overlooked.
A masterful level of concentration is not unlike that of intensely focused meditation. The more you actively seek to obliterate wasteful thinking and replace it with fully on target thought, the quicker and more easily you will reach the goals that you’re most concerned with achieving. So stay alert, stay patient and keep your eye on the prize!