Mental Coaching is used to help athletes, dancers and business people to recapture peak performance feelings. It’s been said that mental coaching can do for the mind what stretching and massage does for the body. It prepares you for the big event, so you can perform at your optimum level. For the business person who speaks in front of large groups (seminars, lectures and other speaking engagements), this can be a valuable tool. The Circle of Excellence is a wonderful self mental training tool to capture your peak performing skills and to have complete confidence.
Mental training found its way into the sports world through the Russians. The Russians were excluded from the Olympics for 40 years form 1912 until 1952. When they entered their 1 st Olympic games in 1952, they won more gold medals than any other country. The world was stunned. How did they do it? The US believed the Russians were using an illegal drug to enhance their athlete’s performance and abilities. In order to save face, Russia was forced to disclose the secret that they had been using hypnosis with their athletes. Eastern European coaches spent as much time with their amateur athletes as US coaches spent with the top level athletes.
Mental training levels the playing field. The strides that it has made in the entire world of athletes have made it possible for national champions to perform at the level of the world champions of just a generation earlier. Has the human athlete changed appreciably in the last 30 years, or has the quality of training? Mental training allows one to consistently perform at his or her best, and consistency is the key to success.
Mental training is about working smarter. It is about the most important opponent you will ever face and the only one who can defeat you – yourself. When we start to cooperate with our ‘opponent’ and see him or her as an ally, then we can start to achieve truly remarkable things in sports and in life. The starting point is to make your inner mind an ally instead of an opponent who sabotages your best efforts.
Being in The Zone is much sought after, but the more it is pursued, the more elusive it becomes. The Zone is difficult to describe with words for the same reason it is difficult to convey in words the effects of a spiritual experience. The “flow state” is perhaps a step down from The Zone, but is a bit more accessible. Csikszentmihaly in his book, Flow: Psychology of Optimal Experience mentions a few elements common to the experience of flow:
• Slowing things down on the outside
• Feeling as if you have all the time in the world
• Having an endless source of energy
• Connected to The Source of all things
• Free from feelings of pain and fear
• Feelings of joy and freedom
• Happy and excited to be here
• Present orientation – Being in this “timeless moment”
The “flow state” allows one to be in sync with the chosen sport or performance. It engenders feelings of being in absolute control. This is a paradoxical notion, because in order to experience this “control” one must give up all effort to direct or control. The way that athletes and performers describe the Flow experience is often with the same words that prophets, mystics and poets have described the mystical union with the Divine. Recapturing peak performance feelings and working with your “self” can help put you in The Zone, and that’s what it’s ultimately about.