Finding good strategies for staying in the zone when you are on the basketball court can be challenging. Part of building basketball mental toughness, is understanding the concept of being ‘in the zone’ and how you can build on that. In sports psychology for basketball terms, the concept of being ‘in the zone’ is often referred to as ‘the flow’.
Flow is a mental state that is achieved through focused motivation. This results in an athlete who is fully immersed in a state of energized focus while participating in a sporting activity. Sometimes even more challenging for an athlete, is the ability to stay in the zone, once they are there.
How do I achieve this?
The ability to get into and stay in the zone, is achieved by understanding the principles mental toughness, an important part of basketball psychology. Staying in the zone is accomplished by harnessing the emotions and energy of the game, becoming fully focused only on the game you are playing. One of the hardest skills for a player to learn is the ability to block all negative thoughts and distractions and stay fully focused on the task at hand. This also includes being able to block personal feelings and emotions, in order to stay in the zone, as any distractions mentally can break that focus. Finally taking all of these important components and focusing them in an energized and positive way, is what every athlete strives to achieve.
Any athlete will attest to the fact when you get into “the zone” you experience that full out, spontaneous, euphoria that can only come from the satisfaction of being fully immersed in an activity and being 100% on your mental game. Basketball players report when they are “in the zone” they are free of anxiety, stress, and performance anxiety. They are relaxed and find true joy and ecstasy from the activity they are focusing on.
Part of building that skill is learning to Let It Go - Staying in the Zone. A player cannot allow agitation, anxiety, depression, fear or other negative emotions to get in the way of achieving that flow and from being in the zone. Those emotions interfere, essentially block, any chance for the brain to get into the zone, as these thoughts will interfere with the flow that a player needs to achieve optimum results. The concept of ‘let it go’ is vital.
The commonality to all of this is three simple steps, clearing your mind and body of all negative thoughts and aggravations, learning to let go, not worry or become concerned and lastly, making sure to dedicate training time to exercises that specifically target mental toughness traits like focusing and emotional control.