In the Zone, in Sports

Everyone is seeking the highest possible level of performance - and there is a legendary mental state that delivers this, every single time...

The most powerful mental state in sport is the mental state known as 'the Zone'. What is the Zone, what does it do, and how does it work?  It is the peak performance mental state - which produces super-human performances and winning streaks.


It is a well-known term in many sports, and any athlete who is in this mental state is virtually unbeatable at their respective level of competition - and when at the elite level, you often witness world records which are well and truly smashed.


An athlete who is 'in the zone' experiences an unusual feeling of effortless control and power, almost as if their body was programmed for the perfect performance, and moving with instinctive and automatic fluid movement.


It can be almost a strange sensation as the performance often does not feel as if it's being controlled by the actual athlete. In fact, they often feel as if they weren't responsible for the performance at all - as if their body was being guided and directed by a more powerful force (and this is exactly what is happening).


Needless to say, every one of our mental sporting programs on this site are specifically designed to help the athlete access their own personal Zone more easily, as well as with various other improvements.

Almost every athlete at some stage in their career has experienced this feeling to some extent, and then wondered afterwards "how did I do that?"


This is the mystery that surrounds this mental state called the zone - why does it appear so fleetingly, and then disappear just as quickly as it came? And most of all - why can't we access this mental state all the time?


So what is this powerful force which is guiding the body during this period? The answer is the sleeping giant that resides inside all human beings, the source of all bodily movement, which contains all your past sporting experiences - yes, your subconscious mind.


When an athlete is 'zoning', their conscious mind (our normally busy, chattering mind) becomes unusually quiet, allowing their more powerful subconscious to run their performance on 'auto-pilot', the way a computer runs software.


This allows their movements to flow much easier and more effortlessly in a way that could never be matched by conscious thought.


This means that when you are in the zone, you have virtually no thought going through your mind whatsoever, your body is just performing on automatic-pilot, powered directly by your subconscious.

This is not to say that your body is performing without instruction - on the contrary, it is simply getting its instructions from a more powerful and reliable source.


By thinking zero thoughts, this takes away the pressure of expectation. As soon as the pressure is taken off, this is the time when most athletes become capable of reaching the zone and achieving something truly special.


The zone is often achieved when you are NOT intending to perform a particularly special performance, and when the pressure is off. This is why (in competitions) it can sometimes be helpful to pretend that you are not the favorite to win, even if you really are - as this may allow you to relax more and make ‘the zone’ more reachable for you.


The paradox about the Zone is that the harder you try to get into it, the further away it becomes - the key is effortless effort.


The Zone can often arrive at the most unlikely times, such as when we have been rushing to get to the competition on time, so we are feeling distracted during performance (warning - which can also cause the opposite to happen - ie. poor form - so not a reliable method).


I have even seen times when a competitor was feeling so despondent about their performance, they virtually gave up trying - and strangely enough, they clicked into The Zone and began performing amazingly well!


How could this happen? Because often when the conscious mind surrenders its control of our performance, it allows the subconscious to step in and begin running the performance instead - and this is when the Zone kicks in.


Other times - and a more common scenario - is that when we are feeling calm, relaxed and in control, our performance often clicks into the Zone. This is probably the most reliable method I have seen, though once again, it does not work for everyone, in every sport - as some competitors perform best when hyped and excited.


Everyone is different and there is no 'one' method that works for everyone - the key is to find the method that personally works best for you. Keep experimenting, until you have discovered all the aspects that click you into the Zone most reliably. Then, you have a formula for success - something money can't buy!


Here are a few aspects that are the most commonly reported to bring success - it's just a matter of finding the method that best suits you.


It is recommended that you try this at intervals in your daily training. Not all the time, as you also need to consciously work on things such as technique in your training, but everyone so often, do a set where you are trying to access the zone.


Here's a short mental checklist when you are about to try a set 'in the zone'.

* Clear your mind of all thought just before the performance.
Thoughts only get in the way, and keeps your conscious mind involved, which is not what you want. The clearer your mind can be, the more easily your subconscious mind can click in to run your entire performance.

* Pay absolutely no attention to anything around you.
Once again, the last thing we want is for your conscious mind to be involved, so just allow yourself to 'go within' and do not think about the surroundings (or anything) whatsoever.

* Allow your body to perform on ‘automatic pilot’ without thought, during this time just allow your body to be guided, rather than directed, by your mind.
This allows your subconscious to take the driver's seat, which is the way to performing in the zone. This, of course, seems to go against all of the 'normal' ways we would approach anything - thinking about what we are doing is such a natural occurrence to most of us, but the key is not to. If anything, try and feel the performance, rather than orchestrating it.

* Remember that it's difficult to get into the zone when you are trying to do it.
It usually happens when you least expect it, and this is because when your body is no longer being held back by the pressure of expectation (from yourself or others), your mind is allowed to direct your body as it truly wishes. So try and use effortless effort.

* Remember that it's difficult to get into the zone when you are trying to do it.
It usually happens when you least expect it, and this is because when your body is no longer being held back by the pressure of expectation (from yourself or others), your mind is allowed to direct your body as it truly wishes. So try and use effortless effort.

* Do not project your mind backward or forward in time - just ‘be here now’ and allow yourself to perform as you have been trained.
The present will never hold any fear for you, only the past or the future create the fears. When you are performing, remind yourself that there is only now, as this reduces stress as well as helping you reach the zone.


Check out our list of sports, and other sports-related programs, here - Sports Mental Training List or don't hesitate to email your and we will be in touch.

<Articles Index>

"The Mind controls the body, and the mind is unlimited". Craig Townsend
















Sponsored Link



Mental Training for Peak Performance

Related Articles

Peak Sports Performance