Characteristics of being in the zone


In the flow, in a groove, on a roll, in the zone - whatever you call it, it’s all defining one thing. It’s that special feeling of playing like you can do no wrong and everything goes your way. You are so involved in what you are doing that nothing else seems to matter because you are so connected to your task. Unfortunately, these peak performances don’t seem to happen often enough. In fact, every time it does happen, it is usually by chance, it just happened to be a day when everything fell into place, clicked for you, and you got a taste of what it’s like to be in the zone. It’s kind of like getting a taste of the good life. Hopefully this occurrence will motivate you to do everything you can to have more peak performances.

By implementing mental training skills and working effectively as a team, you can increase the chances of this transpiring on a more consistent basis and you will be able to be in the zone as one harmonious unit. Being in the zone means doing more than anyone else thought possible, even superseding your own expectations at times. This zone is the definitive reason why many people are motivated to participate in sports.

Characteristics of being in the zone: 

Relaxed: The days of getting psyched up to play are over. Research has shown over and over that the best performances occur when you are just slightly 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.

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 confidence and pride, and it is evident in your performance. There is no fear. Confidence on the inside is outwardly shown by way of your presence, your walk and your facial expressions. You should expect to be successful, not hope or wish to be successful. You must adopt a confident, winning attitude. It is trusting your instincts and intuition to do the right thing at the right time; and if you are prepared, you can be confident that this will happen. This complete faith allows you to just know that you are going to do everything necessary to be successful without the conscious use of reasoning or analyzing.

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 now. 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. Like a child playing with his toys, you are so absorbed in the moment that nothing outside can effect you. 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. Having the ability to stay in the moment is a gift that all peak performers have.

Effortless: Things just sort of happen with little or no effort whatsoever. All your moves are smooth and for that time, your sports seems like 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 with one another in perfect unison. The grace and ease that you display make everything you do seem like the simplest task in the world. You have a sense of finesse and grace, even when the task is very grueling and demanding. That sort of connectedness and moment of greatness is an awesome thing to both witness and take part in.

Automatic: There is no interference from your thoughts or emotions. Things are just happening, both without protest and without consent. You are on auto pilot - 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.

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. You feel like your sport is giving you back something that you can’t get from anyone or anything else. This is a key factor because if you don’t enjoy your sport, your future in it will be limited.

In Control: You feel that no matter what, you are in control. What you think and want to happen will. You have ultimate command over your emotions as well - you are controlling them, not the other way around. When you are in control, you are in charge. You govern your own destiny. When you feel this strong of a command over your game, great things are sure to happen. The authority is yours, and no one else’s.

—Adapted from Chapter 1 of Winning the Mental Way, by Karlene Sugarman, M.A.

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A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour
$19.95

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody & Nobody



This was a team that consisted of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
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A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour
$19.95


Winning The Mind Game--10 Qualities of a Complete Winner


  1. Positive Self-Expectancy. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You get what you expect—so expect the best. Implications for the Athlete: Always expect success—embrace the challenge!

  2. Positive Self-Motivation. Desire and fear are two of the greatest motivators.Learn to go for the rewards of success, not away from the penalties of failure. Implications for the Athlete: Embrace the excitement; it is why you train so hard. During competition you will have access to power you normally don’t have access to—use it!

  3. Positive Self-Image. Vivid visualization can assist you in building a more consistent and successful you.If you can see it you can do it. Implications for the Athlete: Picture yourself as a world-class athlete, and what it takes to get there.

  4. Positive Self-Direction. Set Goals—Keep your eyes focused on the prize.Try to be better today then you were yesterday—In everything you do. Implications for the Athlete: Ink what you think—Goals need to be written down. It’s about going after something that counts—not the outcome.

  5. Positive Self Control. Winners make things happen—Losers let things happen to them. Take full responsibility for your success—No excuses! Implications for the Athlete: Trust yourself and your preparation. You’re ready!

  6. Positive Self-Discipline. Practice winning every single day. Perfect practice make perfect. Be mentally tough—deal with the situation. Implications for the Athlete: Focus on the task at hand—immerse yourself in the game.

  7. Positive Self-Esteem. Single most important human quality—Feel good about being you. Use positive self-talk every day. Implications for the Athlete: Always respond with a positive reply.

  8. Positive Self-Dimension. Little successes lead to victories.Live in the NOW—It’s the only moment in which you have control. Implications for the Athlete: “Take it One Game at a Time” or play, or shot, or event, or swing, or snap, or serve, etc.

  9. Positive Self-Awareness. See your unlimited potential. Know yourself—Learn to Bust Loose! Implications for the Athlete: Let your abilities shine through—be a competitor, force yourself to push through the envelope. “You will love the other side!”

  10. Positive Self-Commitment. Show confidence in your self, your training, your teammates, and your coach.Commit to Excellence. Implications for the Athlete: Measure success against self. Don’t get caught up with competing against others.


—D. Scott Ward, Ph.D


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Coach Yourself: A Motivational Guide For Coaches And Leaders

About This Book
Coach Yourself is a unique book, compiled exclusively for coaches to provide you with physical, mental and spiritual motivation throughout the season. In his follow-up to A Season In Words, veteran coach Dan Spainhour arms you with quotes and motivational ideas to help you achieve peace of mind throughout the season from how to stay motivated to handling critics.

$14.95


Seven Things You Must Give Others If You Want To Achieve Success

A major part of the process of achieving success and living the kind of life that you dream of is to give. Many people think that to get what you want you have to take it. There is a universal truth though that the true path to get what you want is to give. When you give, you get. What you sow, you shall reap. If this is true, then what is it we must give? I'll show you the way.

Give Others Your Honesty. The world we live in has a simple rule that most follow: Lie when you have to. Unfortunately, this may make some people wealthy but it make us humans poor. To achieve success is to become wealthy not only in money, but in character. To be successful, truly successful, is to be able to attain your goals and keep your character at the same time!


Give Others Your Respect. Most of the time we give people respect based on what they have done or what they have accomplished. We gauge whether or not they are "worthy" of it based on what we know of what they have achieved or who they know or are related to.


Give Others Your Vulnerability. We are taught to "be strong." And yes, we should be strong. But we have also embraced something that I think keeps us from having the kind of life that we long for. It is an idea that keeps us from experiencing the kind of relationships that would bring deep meaning to us. It is the idea of vulnerability.


Give Others Your Care. Too many people are running around this old earth not caring about others. The days of "Look Out for Number One" and "Winning Through Intimidation" are over! Let's bring about a new day when we can care about others and succeed!


Give Others Your Passion. There is nothing this world needs more than passionate people. And people need passionate people. Living in this day and age can be tiring. The hustle and bustle of it all can wear you down and tire you out. Give your passion to others and fire them up.


Give Others Your Experience. We all have areas that we excel in and they are usually areas that we have experience in. One of the things we can do to make our lives more meaningful and be of utmost help to others is to show them the way through the experiences we have.


Give Others Your Help. All in all, what we want to do is to help others. Zig Ziglar says that if we will "help others get what they want, we will in turn get what we want." If we want to be successful, we should consider ourselves servants of other people.


—Adapted from Chris Widener & appleseeds.com

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The Coaching & Leadership Journal 
Written specifically for busy leaders, the Coaching and Leadership Journal gives you the latest strategies in a concise, quick-read format.
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