Concentration Could be Key to Ghost Recon Success: Lessons from Poker and Video Games
Concentration while gaming can be a funny thing. While we’ve all had moments when we’re in the zone and our concerns about the outside world drift away, there are also times when we just cannot stop our mind from wandering to that shopping that we urgently need to do.
The great debate about gaming’s relationship with concentration has rumbled on for a number of years, with some studies suggesting games can boost an individual’s focus and others raising concerns that it can impact on attention spans.
But just why do players of GR: Wildlands and other games see their attention wander when they’re in the heart of the action – and is there anything that they can do to address the issue?
Why are we so distracted?
Of course, matters of concentration affect more than just Ghost Recon players, as many people are affected by distractions every day. Frequently blamed for this are smartphones, with research showing that people in the US spend on average more than three hours a day on mobile devices. Furthermore, by 2019, mobile devices are expected to surpass TV as the medium which adults spend the most minutes using.
As sports psychologist and poker expert Jared Tendler outlines on a free poker coaching page for 888poker, it has arguably never been easier for gamers involved in everything from Ghost Recon to Texas Hold’em or Omaha poker to get distracted by things away from their favorite pastime. Looking at the concept of poker specifically, he discusses how players can be affected by a range of external forces that can be linked to smartphones, from social media and Skype to calls and text messages.
These distraction issues seen in poker can easily be applied to a range of other areas of gaming too, with the sheer noise of everyday life meaning it can be understandably difficult for some people to tune out and focus on the task at hand.
How does distraction affect us?
Distraction and a loss of concentration can impact our lives in a number of ways. For example, it may mean you miss a key piece of information in a work document or perhaps run the risk of having an accident while driving. There could even be consequences in terms of your personal life, as you may forget important dates or not listen properly to loved ones.
In terms of gaming, however, whether it is poker or a tactical shooter you may miss key moves made by opponents which could have a significant bearing on the outcome of the game. Furthermore, you may also find it difficult to identify weaknesses in your own game, which means you might not learn lessons and improve your level of performance in the future. Another key issue is that you may misread a situation in a manner which again has serious consequences.
When all of this is considered, it is clear that the issues of distraction and concentration need to be considered if you want to always put in a strong performance.
Why staying focused matters
But just how does concentration make a major difference to your gaming? In an article for Philly.com, psychologist Sarah M Whitman MD examined why a level of focus can be key in the world of sport, with many of the points raised being easily transferable to gaming in general.
She outlined how a level of concentration ultimately keeps you present and means you handle the situation at hand rather than thinking about the past or starting to consider what the future may hold. Another benefit is that maintaining a focus ensures you spot things at the earliest opportunity and may also see smaller details which could ultimately have a major impact on the outcome of a game. She added that as well as helping you ignore distractions, concentration also encourages you to be “in the zone” and can help individuals handle anxiety or other issues.
When these issues are compared with how distraction can impact on your game, it is clear that improving concentration as you play could have a major bearing on how you perform in video games, poker and much more.
How to boost your concentration
So, are there any steps you can take to boost your concentration and learn how to keep a focus on the gaming experience at hand?
Experts certainly seem to think so, with Sarah M Whitman MD going on to suggest that exercises related to mindfulness will help to develop your concentration. She explains at Philly.com that this may take the form of focusing on breathing for a few moments a day, as well as keeping concentration on a single task rather than trying to do too many things at once.
In his article for 888poker, Jared Tendler offers a few practical tips on maintaining concentration during Hold’em, Stud and other variants of poker which again could be applicable to Ghost Recon and other games. For example, the poker expert suggests that if your attention is wandering from a game, you should consider whether it is because you are bored. He adds that learning new strategies and finding new ways to be challenged may hold the key to boosting concentration.
On the distraction of smartphones, Tendler adds that you could also take time to tell friends and family when you are unavailable and for how long. This could go some way towards ensuring that you are not messaged or called while you are in the middle of a key moment of a game.
Concentration is key
While getting distracted during gaming is fairly common, it is clear that the issue can have a wider impact on your ability to perform to a high level during Ghost Recon and a host of other games.
Concentration can make a huge difference when playing games and, as we have outlined above, strategies to boost this are available. The next time you find your attention drifting during a game of Wildlands, take a moment to think about the ways you could get yourself well and truly back in the zone.