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What Does It Mean to Be "in the Zone"?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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When people use the term "in the zone" they are usually describing a state of being where an individual reaches a peak level of performance. This is often used in reference to sporting events, musical performances, and many other creative endeavors, but it can potentially describe almost any mental state allowing a person to perform with a greater than normal level of skill. People often describe being in the zone as a state where everything they do is easier than it normally would be and their brain flows smoothly with accurate concentration from one activity to the next. Scientists and other experts have tried to study the various physical and mental elements involved in achieving this level of performance, resulting in many different theories.

One area where this phase is used very frequently is in athletics. For example, a baseball player with a long hitting streak might describe an experience where suddenly the game became easier for him. For a period of time, he might perceive that the ball almost seems bigger or easier to hit. He may also find that everything he hits is falling into gaps between the fielders, allowing him to get on base with ease. Commentators and others would likely describe his performance by saying that he was in the zone.

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Music is another field where the term "in the zone" is used, particularly among musicians who do a lot of live improvisational soloing. These people often specialize in creating themes and ideas on the fly while they perform, and much like athletes, they can have good and bad days. On days when they’re in the zone, fresh ideas can come more easily, and they may make fewer mistakes. On other days, they may find that ideas are almost impossible to come by, forcing them to fall back on the repetition of older themes. These same sorts of issues of drastically varying performance levels come up with writers, actors, and many other people in creative fields.

Experts aren’t really sure exactly how being in the zone works. Some think it may be an issue of nutrition, while others think it has more to do with sleep patterns or a combination of varying factors. Individuals in performance oriented fields often put in a lot of effort to create situations where it’s easy to get into this state. They may try to find the perfect daily routine to enhance performance, or do other things like implementing diets designed to sharpen their thinking. The effectiveness of these methods is still somewhat debated, but many people believe strongly in their own personal approaches.

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Drentel
Post 4

I can remember watching the Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett play baseball. He was a great hitter, and when he got into the zone he was virtually impossible to get out. Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest things to accomplish in sports, and he made the act of putting the bat on the ball look like child's play. What I wouldn't give to be a Major League Baseball player and be in the zone for a week.

Drentel
Post 3

I can remember watching the Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett play baseball. He was a great hitter, and when he got into the zone he was virtually impossible to get out. Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest things to accomplish in sports, and he made the act of putting the bat on the ball look like child's play. What I wouldn't give to be a Major League Baseball player and be in the zone for a week.

Sporkasia
Post 2

Regardless of whether you are talking about being in the zone on the sports field or in your profession, I think this zone we like to talk about is simply the product of hard work and focus. Why you enter the zone when you do and not at other times I can't say, but as someone once said, practice makes perfect. The zone is the end product of a great amount of practicing. The more time and effort you invest in something the more likely you are to have those moments when you are functioning at very high levels.

Feryll
Post 1

One of the great analogies concerning basketball is when shooting the ball through the rim is described as being like throwing the ball into the ocean. In other words, the rim appears to be so big that you couldn't miss if you tried. Having played a lot of basketball in my life and having been in the so-called zone on a few occasions, I have to say that the experience is surreal.

When I am in this state, I feel like I can do no wrong. Regardless of what I do something good is going to happen. On the basketball court, I can see where everyone is going to be three seconds before they get there, and everyone but

me is moving in slow motion.

The rim doesn't look any bigger, but my arms seem like they are so long that they are just stretching out and dropping the ball into the rim, even when I am 30 feet from the basket. I wish I could bottle that feeling.

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