Tennis - Being in the Zone
(Tennis article by Randy Lynn Rutledge - a former USPTA tennis teaching professional)
You have allowed your subconscious mind to take over the task of playing tennis. You are mentally and physically on automatic pilot. Your conscious mind takes everything in, as a viewer or spectator, and you trust your subconscious to coordinate the performance of all of the routine tennis functions that your mind and body have been programmed to carry out.
All of your tennis functions are working automatically. It is as if a switch has been flipped on and you are on auto-pilot. You are working like an airplane which has been programmed to fly itself. You are in a state of being that tennis players and other sports performers refer to as being in the zone. The zone is a state of supreme mental clarity in which relaxation and tension exist in a perfect blend. The zone is a stream of consciousness that flows with the present moment.
You are paying extreme attention to NOW (The present moment).
Championship level tennis play requires mental clarity and alertness for extended periods of time. People, in general, deal with energy levels which fluctuate according to whether they are getting quality sleep or are suffering from a lack of quality sleep. If levels of stress and relaxation are not in a proper balance, then mental clarity, energy levels, and attention can be greatly affected.
When a tennis player feels good, both mentally and physically, and if this happens at the proper time for a peak during a major tennis tournament to occur, then it is a combination of everything positive happening at just the right time that can cause a sense of KNOWING that, no matter how the match goes down, the last point of the tennis match will be in his or her favor; this belief or KNOWING does not change, even when the score favors the opponent.
There is a huge difference between hoping to win, thinking that you have a very good chance to win, wanting to win, expecting to win, and KNOWING that you are going to win.
This KNOWING that you will win is not something that you can will yourself to do. It is something that you welcome when everything is going your way and you simply get out of the way and let it happen. Your attention is in the present moment and your focus is entirely on playing tennis.
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