You are currently viewing Debunking Myths: Which is Not True About Mental Focus in Individual Sports?

Debunking Myths: Which is Not True About Mental Focus in Individual Sports?

  • Post author:
  • Post last modified:15 September 2023

In the world of individual sports, mental focus plays a crucial role in achieving success and surpassing limits. However, there are several myths surrounding the mental focus required for these sports that need to be debunked.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mental focus is essential for success in individual sports
  • There are myths surrounding mental focus in these sports that need to be addressed
  • Debunking these myths can provide a better understanding of the importance of mental focus in individual sports

Myth #1: “You can’t coach speed”

One common misconception in the realm of individual sports is the belief that speed cannot be developed through coaching and training. However, research and experiences prove otherwise. It is important to debunk this myth and understand the potential for speed improvement in athletes.

A study by sprint researcher Thomas Haugen examined the development of sprint velocity in elite soccer players. The research showed that players in Norway’s first and second-tier soccer leagues demonstrated minimal further development in sprint velocity past the ages of 20-22 [1]. While this may suggest a limit to speed improvement in certain individuals, it is crucial to consider the various coaching environments and support systems that can impact results.

Speed training requires buy-in from sport coaches, performance staff, physios, and the athletes themselves. The integration of speed training into a comprehensive performance plan can be a complex puzzle to solve. However, the benefits of improved speed on the field are undeniable. In football, for example, research has shown that the most common action preceding a goal is a straight-line sprint [1]. Players like Kylian Mbappe and Tyreek Hill demonstrate how superior speed can disrupt an opponent’s defense and create a performance advantage [1].

It is essential to recognize that not all coaching environments are created equal. Some are better suited for speed development than others. Factors such as support, coaching expertise, and training quality can significantly impact an athlete’s speed improvement. Even modest improvements in speed can make a significant difference in an athlete’s performance, potentially propelling them from outside the top 20 to Olympic standards [1].

To conclude, the belief that speed cannot be coached in individual sports is a myth. While genetics and certain physical attributes may contribute to an individual’s speed potential, coaching and training can still lead to valuable improvements. Understanding the importance of coaching environments, support systems, and individualized training programs is key to maximizing an athlete’s speed development.

Table 1: Factors Influencing Speed Development

Factors Impact on Speed Development
Coaching support and expertise Crucial for proper technique and training methods
Training environment Dedicated time and resources for speed training
Individual attributes Genetics, limb length, rate of force development, and musculotendon stiffness
Performance plan integration Collaboration between coaches, performance staff, and athletes

“The only way to reduce fat in any part of your body is to eat in a calorie deficit and focus on full body strength training” – Kim DiLandro, Onyx personal trainer [2]

  1. Explore the research and experiences that debunk the myth of speed development limitations in individual sports.
  2. Understand the importance of coaching support, training environments, and individual attributes in speed improvement.
  3. Recognize that modest improvements in speed can make a significant performance difference.


  1. Haugen, T. (n.d.). Sprint Conditioning of Elite Soccer Players: Worth the Effort or Let’s Just Sign Faster Players? Fusion Sport. Retrieved from [source link] on [date accessed]
  2. [source of second answer]

Myth #2: “Technical models are a waste of time for team sports”

Another myth that needs to be dispelled is the notion that technical models have no relevance in team sports, especially when it comes to enhancing mental focus. Many people believe that team sports rely solely on individual talent and improvisation, dismissing the importance of structured technical models. However, this misconception overlooks the significant role that clear technical models play in developing mental focus and performance in team sports.

Technical models provide athletes with a framework of specific techniques and strategies to follow, ensuring consistent execution and optimal performance. These models act as a guide, allowing athletes to understand and refine their movements, decision-making, and overall game play. By adhering to technical models, athletes can enhance their mental focus by eliminating unnecessary distractions and creating a sense of structure and clarity in their performance. In team sports, where coordination, communication, and synchronization are crucial, technical models provide a common language and understanding among teammates, fostering effective collaboration and mental synchronization.

Moreover, technical models offer athletes the opportunity for continuous improvement and development. By following a structured approach, athletes can identify areas of weakness or areas that require fine-tuning, enabling them to focus their training efforts on specific aspects of their game. This targeted approach not only enhances mental focus but also allows athletes to track their progress, set goals, and strive for constant growth.

It is essential to recognize that technical models are not meant to restrict creativity or spontaneity in team sports. On the contrary, they provide a solid foundation from which athletes can explore and express their unique strengths and abilities. Technical models serve as a starting point, providing a framework within which athletes can develop their own style and adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the game.

In conclusion, debunking the myth that technical models are a waste of time for team sports is crucial in understanding the significance of structured approaches in enhancing mental focus. Technical models provide athletes with a sense of direction, clarity, and continuous improvement, ultimately leading to improved performance and mental focus in team sports.

Myth #3: “No pain, no gain”

The mantra “no pain, no gain” is often associated with mental focus in individual sports, suggesting that enduring physical discomfort is essential for success. However, this myth needs to be debunked to promote a healthier approach to mental focus.

While it is true that pushing oneself to the limit can lead to improvement and growth, it is crucial to understand the difference between positive discomfort and harmful pain. Mental focus in individual sports should not be solely dependent on enduring physical pain, as this can lead to burnout, injuries, and negative mental health effects.

Research has shown that pain tolerance does not necessarily correlate with mental focus. In fact, it is more important to develop strategies that enhance concentration, resilience, and emotional control during high-pressure situations. This can be achieved through techniques such as visualization, mindfulness, and goal-setting.

Furthermore, it is essential to prioritize the overall well-being of athletes in individual sports. Pushing through excessive pain can lead to long-term physical and mental consequences. It is crucial for coaches and athletes to listen to their bodies, understand their limits, and implement appropriate recovery strategies to ensure sustainable progress.

Debunking the Myth

To debunk the myth of “no pain, no gain” in mental focus for individual sports, it is important to shift the focus towards a holistic approach. This includes promoting mental and physical balance, emphasizing the importance of rest and recovery, and providing appropriate support systems for athletes.

By debunking this myth, athletes can cultivate a healthier mindset towards mental focus, allowing them to optimize their performance, reduce the risk of injury, and maintain overall well-being in their individual sports pursuits.

Myth Reality
“No pain, no gain” Mental focus should not solely rely on enduring physical discomfort. It is important to prioritize overall well-being and implement strategies to enhance concentration, resilience, and emotional control.


Debunking these myths surrounding mental focus in individual sports reveals the true nature of this crucial aspect and highlights the need for accurate information in achieving peak performance.

One common myth that has been debunked is the belief that speed cannot be coached in individual sports. Research has shown that with the right training environment and coaching support, even athletes with average speed can make significant improvements. It is important for coaches to understand that while they may not be able to turn the slowest player into the fastest, they can help athletes develop their speed and become more competitive.

Another myth that has been debunked is the notion that technical models are a waste of time for team sports. While it is true that the strict track technique may not always apply to team sports, having a technical model can provide athletes with a clear end goal to work towards. Coaches should tailor the technical models to suit the specific demands of team sports, taking into account factors such as acceleration from different body positions and the need to control a ball.

Lastly, the misconception that “no pain, no gain” is necessary for mental focus in individual sports has been addressed. While pushing oneself can be beneficial, it is important to strike a balance and avoid overtraining. Overtraining can lead to injuries, hinder performance, and have negative effects on overall well-being. Athletes should listen to their bodies and prioritize recovery to maintain optimal mental focus.

In conclusion, it is crucial to debunk these myths surrounding mental focus in individual sports to provide athletes and coaches with accurate knowledge. By understanding the true nature of mental focus, athletes can optimize their performance and reach their full potential. It is important for coaches and trainers to stay informed and continue to debunk any future myths that may arise, ensuring that athletes have access to the most accurate and effective training methods.


Q: What is the first myth being debunked in this article?

A: Myth #1: “You can’t coach speed”

Q: What is the second myth being debunked in this article?

A: Myth #2: “Technical models are a waste of time for team sports”

Q: What is the third myth being debunked in this article?

A: Myth #3: “No pain, no gain”

Source Links