soft focus:there’s more to focus than meets the eye

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Last weekend I was introduced to the concept of soft focus by Scott Ford, author, clinician, tennis master coach and performance specialist at OMNI Athlete 2019 in San Francisco and it expanded my understanding of the concept of focus.

Scott explained soft focus as the ideal way to focus on quickly moving objects in our field of vision - like tennis balls and baseballs. If a ball is coming at you really fast and you employ hard (singular, intense) focus on it while it is still far away, in the time it takes to get to where you can actually hit it, you’ll have lost focus on it and won’t be able to regain it in time. Its in scenarios like these that soft focus is effective.

The premise of holding soft focus in sport is to set your focus on the depth of field that the ball will eventually enter and within which you’ll be able to make contact. When you do this you’re still able to see the balls trajectory on its way to you but unlike with premature hard focus, once it gets within your reach it comes into focus so you can make contact.

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Focus on the ball just as it leaves the pitchers hands or your opponent’s racket and your eyes won’t be able to regain focus in time for you to hit it. However, if you hold focus softly in the area where you need to see it to take action, you’ll be able to see the ball the entire time and your anticipation of its arrival will give you enough time to act accordingly.

As I listened my mind immediately connected these instructions to the instructions Abraham Hicks gives for how to mentally focus in a way that allows us to align with our desires. In that realm, hard focus feels like efforting, hustling, grasping, impatience, frustration, comparison and dissappointment. It feels like needing a specific outcome or a circumstance to change in order to be happy.

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Soft focus, on the other hand, feels less like grasping and despration and things needing to change to be satisfied and more like feeling my way into a state of anticipation of the good things coming. Soft focus feels like, “I’m content with what is and aware that something new is on the way.” Soft focus feels like being ready.

As I’ve gotten more sensitive to how I feel when I’m in alignment and when I’m out of alignment, this idea of soft focus helps me know how to get back into alignment through being more general, through releasing the word need. Just thinking of the words ‘soft focus’ drops me into a less intense, more soothed space (the space where the magic happens).

Is the distinction between soft and hard focus resonant or meaningful to you?