Have you ever been in a competition where it seemed as though everything you did went the right way? We often hear people refer to those moments as being "in the zone" or "on fire". You're in a state of heightened, yet calm sense of awareness. Maybe it's the game of your life on the soccer field, your best round of golf, running a great road race; or maybe it's a more fleeting moment like a crushing home run swing in baseball, a key three point shot in basketball, a phenomenal catch in football, or the perfect service return in a tennis match. We've all been there in one form or another. It's a beautiful thing. And then, moments or days later, we're right back to our plain old average selves.
Let's take a closer look using tennis as the example. There's a clear difference between the number one ranked player in the world and the tenth ranked player. There's a clear difference between number ten and number 100. However, on a given day, we've seen number ten, playing at his/her best, beat number one, seemingly playing at his/her best as well. We've seen number 100 beat number ten. And, on rare, but memorable occasions, we've seen number 100 beat number one.
On the day, both athletes demonstrate mastery of the technical, tactical and physical skills it takes to be the best and are able to summon the proper mental state necessary to bring it all together. They are, in most aspects, equal to each other.
What separates the two over time? How is that they're ranked ten spots, or even 100 spots apart?
The key difference between the two players is minute and, at the same time, huge. Although each athlete is extremely gifted, the better player over time knows the state of mind he/she needs to be in to perform at the highest level. There's a recognition of the cognitive processes that positively guide their performance. Equally important, the better player knows how to re-create that state on demand and takes the responsibility to make it happen.
The less successful player may not be aware of his/her optimum state or know how to recreate it on demand. Many of us simply hope to have a good day, often chalking up that rare phenomenal performance to the right socks, weather, luck, or something else entirely outside of our control.
The same process applies to all sports and other performance related activities. Male or female, it's the same. We've all had days when everything comes together... when we're "in the zone". As such, we already know what to do. We have the resources. The key is learning to know what we already know, learning how to re-create it on demand, and taking responsibility for both. There's no magic formula. Learning what we already know takes time, practice and commitment. The exciting part is that it's in our control. While most of us will never be a world ranked athlete, we can all increase our own chances of re-creating that beautiful moment when it all comes together.
If you're interested in learning how to perform at your best, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a session or to discuss details and availability.
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