View Full Version : Being 'In the Zone' - How does it work?

5th September 2013, 15:38
I'm really curious about this phenomenon because it seems to be a fact that humans can get into a mental state where they perform significantly higher than their usual consistency. I've only really seen this in competition.

I want to understand how this works. This is one of those science meeting spirituality things.

I shoot pool on a competitive level. In the pool league, players are ranked according to skill level. I (like most people) generally shoot consistent to my ranking. However, there are some days where I shoot 'lights out.' Not only winning every game, but slamming in shots I usually never take. I know it when it's happening, I can feel it but if I think of it I'll lose it.

I'll try and be specific:
Normally when shooting pool (after the rack is broken and your balls chosen) you analyze the table and plan a several shots ahead. When you line up a shot about a dozen things pop up in your mind: "hit the ball straight, follow through gently, position the cue correctly, etc etc"

The harder the shot, the more intense these thoughts are. This ends up in physically taking more time to line up the shot.

When you're in the zone, none of this applies. You don't need to line up the shot so much and you're not worried about missing or positioning the cue. You just know every shot is going to be 10/10, 100% accurate.

This happens to me a freakish level (happens to lots of people). I'll take a shot and walk to where the cue is going to stop. Take the next shot, chalk the tip, walk to where the cue is gonna stop, ad infinitum. My opponent will have to just sit there and watch. There are people that are just this good, but that's not me (yet). Except for when I'm in the zone.

What I want to know is why this happens. It's generally random but there are a few consistencies.

The first one I've noticed is pretty cool. I have a biofeedback device. If I use it consistently my pool game jumps up. I don't really know why, but I just notice that I'm making shots with less 'noise' in my head. This makes it easier to get in the zone.

The other, maybe controversial, is alcohol. This sounds ridiculously silly, but if I have a buzz going and a song playing I like (music a big part of my life) then it's best to just get out of my way. I just don't lose. I try not to play like this because it's ridiculous to suggest one needs alcohol to perform on a high level. I'm just pointing it out because it's a consistency I've noticed.

So, thoughts? Being in the zone seems to apply to all sports and I imagine in other areas of life. So how can we toggle this mind state?

5th September 2013, 15:55
i would recommend tom campbell, he discusses the zone...specifically and then goes into more i'm sure...i'm only at the beginning of the trilogy (my big toe) myself. and from what i know about it, i'm expecting him to talk about it in detail and how to.

another tip i've read is do a meditation in front of a clock with hands/numbers etc (not digital) with your eyes open and relaxed upon the clock. the goal is to get in such a trance state that the hand on the clock stops moving. and there you are in zero point, 'the zone'....ive tried it, its just as easy as it sounds. :)

5th September 2013, 16:15
Ramesh Balsakar had a helpful concept.
Working mind and Psychological mind
The Physiological mind is ego based and lives in past and future, it is analytical.
It will tell you why you cant do things-it will distract you from the task at hand.
When I was young I played in a Rock band and there were times I got a natural high--- I suddenly wondered whether I was playing the bass guitar or it was playing me. I certainly was not playing consciously--I saw the fingers move I heard the notes--it was effortless-- no thought involve.
That is the secret-- no thought involved.
You just let it happen without conscious effort.
The working mind does not require thought--it just does what it does--it knows how to without any internal language.
You can be full aware without any comment going on.

5th September 2013, 20:25
I equate this "zone" with a relaxed meditative state of mind. After I learn, practice and memorize a piece of music I can sit at the piano and get in that state and it just "flows"...until I become aware that I am being listened to! Then I lose it. When I spent hours every day painting I was also in that state and the time just seemed to disappear. I just wish I had learned how to maintain that state and not be so self conscious.