Being in the Zone
Have you had one of those days in your golf when everything just seemed easy?
Or perhaps a different sort of day when an annoying little voice in your head kept reminding you of all the things that can go wrong?
Probably both, so you might be wondering how you can have more of the first and eliminate the second.
This is where building your mental skills comes in. When you are in the zone, you are allowing your natural unconscious skills to do what you do well without interference. When that inner voice comes in, you are destroying the natural ability that your unconscious mind keeps for you, and confusing it with doubt.
In reality, for many of us, whether we stay in the zone or succumb to doubt, can depend on our early performance or we can be hijacked by one unforeseen error. So why be hostage to fortune if there is a way of staying in the zone, no matter what?
So some of the key emotional traits needed to stay in the zone are:
- Trust in your ability. The time to work on technical skills is during practise or training.
- Whilst playing, accept the odd error – not to be complacent, but to stop negative thoughts before they gain an emotional attachment. The time to work on errors, again, is during practise or training.
- If negative thoughts arise, spot them early and switch them to positive in a realistic manner. We often focus unduly on our mistakes and don’t give enough credit to things that have gone well. But, even if you have not been playing well and that is the true reality, just changing “I am not playing well TODAY” to “I am not playing well YET” can make a big difference.
- Focus on the present – worrying about past mistakes or getting carried away by seeing the trophy in your hand does not help you achieve the right level of focused attention.
- Focus on your process goals (see “Goal Setting“).
- Develop some consistent routines to maintain mental strength during play.
All that may seem easier said than done when you are having a bad day. That is where Sports Hypnosis comes in. Through the use of positive suggestion communicating direct to the unconscious mind, you can create more robust mental patterns which will help in all the above areas and help you GET IN AND STAY IN THE ZONE.