Where does your focus stray when competing? You can be completely focused, totally distracted or somewhere in-between. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you have a choice, when your head is swimming with all the “what-ifs” and last minute details. Not being laser focused, however, is usually due to a lack of mental game skills.

Yes, life happens. An infinite amount of possibilities can easily distract you, throwing you off course. With the proper mindset, however, you are able to control your focus. Continuing to feel in control, regardless of your circumstances, is empowering.

The day of your big event is not the moment to start anything new. But it is during those high pressure competitions where you really need to maintain a positive mindset the most. Those demanding, intense challenges are when the most confident, focused and prepared athletes excel.

Zone performance. Flow. A-game. The mindset athletes strive for. Being in the zone requires a delicate balance between skills and challenge. When the pieces come together just right, then flow happens.

Flow according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychology professor, is a timeless quality. Time literally feels like it has slowed down and you have all the time you need to execute perfectly. On the other hand, it can also feel like time has sped up and you wonder where the time went. Have you been there, too?

Creating the correct skill and challenge balance for zone performance is entirely possible regardless of your level of ability. Too much, or too little, of either factor in the balance means you’re not going to hit you’re A-game. Being off balance does affect your focus.
Zone Performance for Laser Focus

   Anxiety                                                            Zone Performance
High Challenge + Low Skills          High Challenge + High Skills

   Apathy                                                               Boredom
Low Challenge + Low Skills          Low Challenge + High Skills

But wait, there’s more. Don’t let someone else decide on your challenge. Why? When you determine your challenge for a competition then you are less dependent on the other competitors regarding your performance. Yes, you can feed off of their energy but it works against you to assume they are going to push you to perform better. Don’t put your performance in the hands of an opponent.

You will feel more in control by setting personal goals when you’re competing. This works equally well for team or individual sports.

With my personal rowing experience at regattas, I have been in races where there was a big gap in abilities with the other boats in my heat. So whether my boat was out ahead of all the others, or behind, I still had personal goals to keep me focused on my performance. I’ve put too much energy into my training program to hope other’s will motivate me to do my best.

The goal is to find your best balance for zone performance. A challenge which stretches your skills increases your focus, leading to zone performance. Make you’re A-game happen. High performing athletes recognize the benefits of having their personal goals to maintain motivation. Put your performance into your own hands instead of the hands of your competitors. By doing so confidence grows as you continue to stretch yourself to reach your goals.

Activity: Regardless of the level of competition you find yourself up against, you can still give it your best by setting personal challenges. What type of challenge would you have? A specific split time, staying positive when competing, quality of follow through. Determine your ideal challenge, one which is a little bit of a stretch for you. Make sure it also challenges your current skill level.

Author's Bio: 

Follow Loren Fogelman during the sports mindset moment giving you tips for winning results through improved focus and confidence. Where does your focus stray when competing? Learn what it takes to get into the zone. Having flow is a timeless quality, high performance almost feels effortless. Discover what elite athletes already know about the zone. See how it helps you performance even better during those challenging moments. Receive your FREE Starter Kit "Top 7 Mistakes Even the Best Athletes Make." by going now to http://expertsportsperformance.com