Professional tennis players don’t just get into the zone by chance or by accident. Professional tennis players take certain steps to enter their zone. This starts even before they enter the courts.
You need to prepare your bodies, having proper sleep, good food, enough water as well as your mental routines like visualization. This is not only for tennis players, but for all sport in general.
Let’s start with some tips for physical preparation.
Step 1) You need good sleep. Good sleep does not mean 8 hours or more, but what feels comfortable for you. Try to develop a habit of always sleeping and waking up at the same time everyday if possible. This helps to keep your performance consistent as it cancels out one variable that you need to keep in check.
Step 2) Good food. By good food, I mean having proper nutrition as well as having your meals at the proper times. Making sure you have proper nutrition will give you the energy you require for your matches and set you up for getting into the zone.
Step 3) Hydration. You need enough liquids in your body to perform at your best. Even a slight drop in liquids will cause your performance to drop by a significant amount.
So assuming you’ve taken care of preparing your body what can you do mentally to enter the zone?
Keep in mind that this technique is applicable for any situation that requires you to focus and perform at your best. Simply modify what you’re visualizing to suit your circumstance.
The easiest and fastest way to enter your zone or flow state is to follow this five step process:
- Step 1: Find a quiet place and get as comfortable as possible. Relax and keep your body perfectly still.
- Step 2: Once comfortable and relaxed close your eyes, if it is safe to do so.
- Step 3: Turn your awareness to your breath, and slow it down. Make sure you are breathing diaphragmatically with your tummy going up as you breath in, and going down as you breathe out. Now make sure the out breaths are longer than the in breaths. Count to 3 as you breathe in, hold at the top, then breathe out slowly to 5,6,7. Take your time, never force a breath.
- Step 4: After just a few of these deep breaths you’ll feel calm and in control. Your muscles are soft and free from tension, your shoulders move freely and your legs feel light, fast and full of bounce.
- Step 5: Now visualize going on the court and playing your best winning tennis. Feeling the flow of just doing it without thinking. Everything in slow motion and yet so fast at the same time. You’re just flying across the court. It feels effortless and yet you are playing amazing tennis, your very best, because you are in your zone.
A Few More Tips and Benefits
Zen breathing plus positive visualizations are the two fastest ways of getting into the zone. The combination is magical and it’s why top performers do it. This technique is also very effective at helping with and preventing mental fatigue.
You can use these 5 steps during every changeover in the match. You can use it to stay in the zone for long periods of time as well as reentry. Practice this mental skill as often as you can, it’s really powerful and will give you an edge over your opponent.
There are also other amazing thing about this fast track method to entering your flow state. Even if you don’t quite hit the sweet spot of your zone, you’ve still prepared yourself to play the best tennis you can no matter what the score is and being the best you can be is all you, or anybody else, can ever ask for.
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