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     One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive from athletes is “How to do I get in the Zone”. Here are some characteristics of the “Zone”:

  1. Relaxed: Research has shown over and over that the best performances occur when you are just E005501slightly above your normal state of arousal, not at the extreme end of the spectrum as once thought. You are energized, yet relaxed. It’s a subtle balance of quiet intensity. Your mind is calm and your body is ready to go. You feel relaxed, but you are able to move with great strength and ease.
  2. Confident: Not letting a lapse in performance undermine your belief in your overall abilities is at the core of this characteristic. When you are playing well, you feel confident that no matter what you are up against, you are going to come out on top. You just exude with confidence and pride, and it is evident in your performance. There is no fear. Confidence starts from within and is displayed by way of your presence, your walk and body language. You should expect to be successful, not hope or wish to be successful. You must adopt a confident, winning attitude. You trust yourself to do the right thing at the right time; and if you are prepared, you can be confident that this will happen.
  3. Completely focused: You are totally absorbed in the moment. You have no memory of the past and no qualms about the future; you are here in the Present. The only thing you are concentrating on is the task at hand. You are oblivious to everything else going on around you, consumed by the moment. You have no real sense of time, and before you know it, the game is over. The game seems to have flown by, and at the same time, everything you did seemed to happen in a slowed-down pace with great precision and concentration.
  4. Effortless: Things just sort of happen with little or no effort whatsoever. All your moves are smooth and for that time and playing your sport is the easiest thing in the world. You are in a state of mind and body where you can accomplish great things with little effort. Your mind and body are working in unison. The grace and ease that you display make everything you do seem like the simplest task in the world.
  5. Automatic Pilot: There is no interference from your thoughts or emotions. Things are just happening. You are just reacting to whatever comes your way. Your body just seems to know what to do without any directive from you. There is no conscious thought involved; you’re going strictly on your instincts. If you think less, you will achieve more.
  6. Fun: When you’re in the flow, the enjoyment is incomparable to anything else. You feel like when you were a kid enjoying your sport with pure and innocent delight. Anyone can see in your eyes the satisfaction and fulfillment the sport gives you. This is a key factor because if you don’t enjoy your sport, your future in it will be limited.
  7. In Control: You feel that no matter what, you are in control. What you think and what you want to happen will. You have command over your emotions as well – you are controlling them, not the other way around. When you are in control, you are in charge. When you feel this strong of a command over your game, great things are sure to happen.

What keeps someone from getting into the Zone?

  • What if syndrome. The constant worry about the consequences of the outcome of a performance or game.
  • Fear of Failure
  • Focusing on the uncontrollables
  • Concern about embarrassment
  • Worry about what other think
  • Fear of disappointing others (coach, teammates, parents, fans)

Keith Waldman Bio: For over a decade Mr. Keith Waldman has been a partner with Optimal OPAHome1Performance Associates, LLC. Keith has been actively involved in a wide variety of athletic programs, K-12 schools, and corporations focusing on teambuilding, leadership, character education, and athletic excellence. Keith has been a popular NCAA speaker for many collegiate and high school athletic programs and conferences. He has conducted hundreds of workshops for Division I-III sport teams and high school athletic departments across the nation, including State, Conference, and National Championship Teams. His passion and commitment as well as his educational and professional experience have enabled Keith to make a tremendous impact on many athletic, educational, and corporate teams. To get more information about Optimal Performance Associates and the services they provide you can visit the OPA website at www.opawinningteams.com or you can email Keith Waldman at keith@opawinningteams.com

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