Train To Get Into The Zone And Achieve Your Peak Performance
by: Roy Palmer
Many studies have researched athlete's experiences in The Zone. Regardless of their sport they have found
many similarities in the words they use to describe their experience. Can we use their findings to give us some idea of how
we can open the door a little wider to enter into it?
A review of these studies to date identifies seven common characteristics of a Zone experience. Athletes reported
were totally absorbed in the activity
experienced an inner clarity
had a sense of ecstasy and being outside everyday reality
were in the moment, focused on the present
felt a deep passion for the activity
had a sense of serenity, no anxiety about their performance
had no sense of effort - it just happened
For many sports people a peak performance comes as a surprise. One minute they a performing, the next, suddenly
they are in The Zone and life just got a whole lot easier. I believe these episodes happen when you can get out of the way
and temporarily perform outside of your usual habitual boundaries, the old rules don’t apply and suddenly your movement,
decision-making and sporting skills escalate way beyond your expectations.
Training for The Zone
I believe The Zone is a natural ability, perhaps a primitive survival skill heightening our state of alertness
in challenging situtations. Participation in sport may trigger this capacity but only if we allow it to happen. If it is a
primitive skill would it be an automatic function? Could it switch on when certain criteria are met? If so it would mean we
could not enter The Zone by deliberately trying any more than we can get to sleep by shutting our eyes tighter.
We all have the ability to switch on and perform - we just have to learn to allow the process to work. Training
with a different attitude can bring about the state where we are better placed to let it just happen. If there is any anxiety
about our performance it is not going to happen.
Obviously you need to have the necessary skills to perform in The Zone for your sport, but it is important
to detach yourself from the ego and concerns you may have in order to get out of the way and allow your mind and body to work
together and let it happen. In my view, the most important attribute for any sports person is the ability to be in the moment.
All else follows from there. Perhaps our ancestors, without the distractions and pressures of the modern world, spend more
time in The Zone because like children they live in the present. This is the skill we need to practise and once mastered,
The Zone could become more of a reality.
About The Author
Roy Palmer is a teacher of The Alexander Technique and has studied performance enhancement in sport for the last 10 years.
In 2001 he published a book called 'The Performance Paradox: Challenging the conventional methods of sports training and exercise'
and is currently working on a new project about The Zone. More information about his unique approach to training can be found
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