All athletes love the magical, sought after state of mind known as 'the zone.' This state of supreme focus helps athletes in all sports perform at their peak.
Many athletes who want to reach their peak potential are always in search of secrets to hop into the 'zone.' But the zone is really not that complicated or hard to achieve when the right mental game strategies are put into place.
I will confess, it is difficult to enter a 'zone' state every time you compete, no one is perfect, but you can learn the mental strategies that will help you get there more often!
What really is the zone? The zone is simply a mental state of total involvement in the present moment. I like the word *immersed* as it indicates you lose yourself - or your sense of self - when you perform, which is how some athletes describe the zone.
Being in the zone is a state of total involvement in a task without the mental burden or worry, doubt, or fear about results.
So, if the zone is that simple, why can't athletes achieve this mindset every time they hit the court or step on the diamond?
Many of the top athletes do --Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Maria Sharapova, for example. But some athletes are blocked from entering the zone because they are overtaken by massive distractions such as fear of failure and worry.
The top athletes know how to harness the power of the zone by using thoughts and images to trigger a mindset to enter the zone.
I felt as though I was driving in a tunnel. I had
reached such a high level of concentration that it
was as if the car and I had become one.
(Arton Senna, F1 Race Car Driver)
Arton Senna's quote is a common description of how athletes depict or explain their experience in the zone: the driver merges with the car; the tennis player joins her mind with the ball and court; the golfer becomes one with the club and the ball; and so on.
Entering the zone may sound zen-like and magical, but actually achieving this level of immersion is very simple...
When your mind fully connects with achieving a goal, such as serving an ace, attention is absorbed into the present - the here and now only. Your mind is riveted to the thoughts and images that help you execute with precision.
With pinpoint focus, fear of failure, worry, doubt, indecision, and other mental traps are forbidden from entering your conscious mind. In this state of concentration, mental distractions struggle to compete for your attention, but lose the battle.
You CAN capture this state of immersion to enhance your performance and maximize your athletic potential!
In my latest program, 'The Focused Athlete: A 14-Day Plan for Superior Concentration,' I teach you four steps to a process focus to enhance your ability to get into the zone.
The Focused Athlete helps you to tap into the power of a zone focus by learning how to focus on the process, better cope with distractions, and mentally prepare your mind before competition.
The Focused Athlete also has a self-test you can use after each performance to test your ability to get into a zone focus.
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.