The Zone

Sport Psychology Training: The missing link to achieving “The Zone”

Achieving optimal performance in any sport requires the right type of focus. Many athletes refer to this elite concentration as “being in the zone”. Sure, many top athletes have experienced the zone but few understand how it happened. What’s ironic about being in the zone is that it contradicts how the majority of athletes (both amateur and professional) train and focus everyday. With professional coaches and biomechanical specialists, athletes have the advantages of mastering specific movements and receiving endless technical and tactical knowledge that should lead to more wins in competition, right?

Unfortunately, this highly structured and dedicated practice regimen that many athletes have committed to for thousands of hours doesn't always translate into success in competition. In fact, many athletes who train hard (without sport psychology training) occasionally report negative effects in important athletic events such as moments of increased anxiety, frustration, loss of focus, and even feelings of helplessness. What's even more frustrating for the athlete is that after a tough loss the athlete returns to the practice setting only to train even harder but with the same type of focus! This counterproductive routine has led to many adverse effects such as a continued drop in confidence, choking under pressure, and for some it's a recipe for total burnout also known as “calling it quits!”

So should athletes avoid training hard on technical and tactical aspects of their game to achieve success? Absolutely not! The important factor to focus on is the athlete's attentional focus in competition settings. When athletes are in the zone what they are really experiencing is a complete connection with their mind and body. This connection is often only brief and occurs when their mind is in a relaxed and controlled state where conscious technical and tactical feedback is greatly minimized and in many cases ceased all together.

So the next time you go to practice try to control your thoughts by clearing your mind and focusing on only one factor that you can control. This focus technique should be done without feelings of anxiety and thought interference. One method of anxiety avoidance in sport is to focus on an area outside of your body such as the ball. This is an example of an external focus intervention. When executed correctly, external focus interventions allow for fluid movements by preventing negative thoughts to impair the highly trained technical and tactical aspects of your game that you have practiced for thousands of hours. This will help deliver the first step to achieving the optimal state of sport performance, the zone. If this advice doesn't work right away don't get frustrated because it's completely normal. Sport Psychology Training must be practiced correctly and consistently just like any technical, physical, and tactical training. In addition, many other factors play an important role in achieving the zone.

To learn the complete method of how to achieve the zone and take control of your maximum potential contact SPMI today. At SPMI, we specialize in training athletes throughout the country to reach their full potential by providing athletes with personalized interventions that are tailored to meet each athlete’s individual needs. Our elite sport psychology services will help train your mind to consistently succeed when it counts.

SPMI is a sports psychology company located in Miami, Florida. SPMI offers face-to-face services for local athletes and online services for athletes who are located in other areas throughout the country or who travel often. To learn more about how SPMI can help take your game to the next level contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.