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OCSC Player Dillon Powers How to Focus and Overcome Negative Thinking

October 24, 2019

Everyone struggles with negative thinking sometimes — even professional athletes. Orlando City Soccer Club midfielder Dillon Powers knows just how destructive this can be. The stress and anxiety caused by negativity can affect how well he performs during a game and how well he trains before a game even starts. It’s a damaging state of mind that potentially can affect his teammates, too. For these reasons and others, he developed techniques to help deal with negative internal chatter and calm his nerves.

Interested in how you can improve your game through mindfulness? Powers shares his tips on how to stay focused and block out negativity, as well as how he follows a healthy, plant-fueled diet.

What mindfulness techniques do you practice to calm your nerves during a high stakes game?

Meditation is the biggest tool I have. When used properly, meditation allows you to train your focus.

Do you still get nervous before games?

Absolutely. I get a few butterflies before each game! While every player experiences it in his or her own way, I think most athletes get a sense of nervousness before competing. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. Ultimately it amounts to having a little bit of excitement in preparation for the game.

How do you stay focused and block out negative chatter?

First of all, I make a habit of doing it every single day. You can’t just call it up on the day of the game. Mindfulness and meditation are tools you should practice constantly. That way, when it comes to needing to block negativity out, it’s easier to do. You are able to stay focused on the present and move on to the next play, especially when the unexpected happens.

Learning to move past the negative talk also comes from how well you stay focused during training. Practice this mindset as part of your training and do so often. It really allows you to reconnect with the moment during the game.

How do you fuel yourself on a plant-based diet? Has it been difficult?

There are so many ways I’m able to fill myself up on a plant-based diet. Take carbohydrates, for example — they are an important part of fuel for an athlete. There are so many different varieties and variations of food that you can go for, whether it's fruit, grains or vegetables. Once you start to dig in and research it, you’ll find there are a wide variety of options in the plant-based world you may have never known about.

Eating a plant-based diet on the go can present its challenges. If you plan ahead and understand what options are available, however, it can actually be rather easy. For instance, I sometimes just bring an apple or some nuts with me when I travel. There are tons of different protein and dietary bars available as well. Overall, it's not too difficult to either travel with or find a simple whole-food option that can keep you energized.

Powers isn’t the only local athlete choosing plants to fuel his lifestyle. For other heart-healthy tips about living a more mindful, vegetarian lifestyle, see what Orlando Pride Player Toni Pressley had to share earlier this year.

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