In this webinar, Dr. Evian Gordon explains “Finding and keeping your Zone of optimal performance.”
Your ‘Zone’ describes the nonconscious, automatic, in-the-moment sense of well-being that enables you to perform optimally. Finding your Zone and maintaining it requires knowing your brain dynamics and training what works for you.
Are you able to find and maintain your Zone on demand?
In the next 10 minutes, Dr. Gordon will outline how to find and maintain your Zone of optimal performance.
Click on the image below to view the webinar:
This 10 part Webinar series is about Self Empowerment.
To Know +Train your brain releases you from the whim of your reactive impulses.
Today’s webinar is all about Knowing and Training your Zone of optimal performance. It’s all about Brain-Body-Performance Timing.
Firstly, what is the Zone?
‘Zone’ describes the nonconscious, automatic, in-the-moment sense of Flow that enables you to perform optimally. Finding your zone and maintaining it requires knowing your brain’ dynamics and training ‘What Works for you.’
Every athlete has a personal bias toward Positivity or negativity, a personal capacity for remaining in the moment, and a personal ability to block out negativity and not overcompensate (try too hard) after errors.
Ironically, some athletes who have an intense drive to win are more tuned in to negativity, particularly in high arousal and high pressure moments.
Optimizing your Emotion-Feeling-Thinking-Regulation to maintain your Zone of peak performance, can be a subtle and challenging process.
Evidence from the Brain Resource International Database suggests that you may be naturally in your Zone of peak performance more than you think. However, even the slightest amount of negativity and frustration can knock you out of tour Zone and make your performance sub-optimal.
Staying in your zone of optimal performance at critical moments requires extreme Self-regulation of your Emotion-Feeling-Thinking, to SWITCH Negative to Positive Thinking intrusions and be at your optimal level of arousal.
Intrusive negative thoughts can trigger your brain and body’s ‘Fight or Flight’ reflex. This reflex is helpful in getting you out of danger. But at critical moments, it disrupts your brain-body coordination, your focus, and your strategic judgment, and it keeps you out of your automatic zone of peak performance.
No one has a monopoly on wisdom about “Zone”, but a few principles are emerging. The first is that ‘Less is More.’ There is growing evidence that zone is associated with predominantly nonconscious processing, when distracting thoughts are blocked and the extraordinary power of the nonconscious brain can optimally implement the play in its simplest automatic mode.
Immediate: Circuit-break negativity.
Short-term: Immerse in the moment.
Long term: Optimize brain habits.
There are a number of training strategies to replace negative thoughts with positive ones at critical moments.
A simple example is training yourself to continually put positive thoughts to the front of your brain. The specific strategy to rapidly replace intrusive negative thoughts with positive ones may involve using a personalized positive word or symbol as a trigger.
A personalized ‘Positive Affirmation’ word or symbol may also help the brain switch or stay switched into an optimal nonconscious processing and arousal state. One top athlete, for example, found that the word ‘simple’ works for him.
An international marksman uses his personalized breathing rate as his Positive trigger.
I visualize a circle to indicate the aligning of Emotion-Thinking-Feeling-Self-regulation.
One of the greatest ‘mental edge’ athletes I have ever seen is Steve Waugh, the now-retired Australian cricket captain of one of the most successful sport teams in history. When he was asked about his mental state under pressure, he had the following simple solution: ‘There were always negative and positive thoughts going on in my mind all the time. All I focused on was pushing the positive thoughts to the front.’
One good way to switch off a disruptive ‘Fight or Flight’ reflex is by breathing at your ‘personalized best breathing rate’ using MyCalmBeat. Training with MyCalmBeat for 10 minutes a day, three days a week, increases your optimal flexibility of low and high frequency heart rate activity, which puts you in your zone of optimal performance.
MyCalmBeat has also been shown to reduce stress and improve benefits of increased heart rate variability, all of which will help you optimize your peak performance.
Recent computerized brain imaging research has shown that simply visualizing a task activates brain networks similar to those activated by actually doing the task. Because neurons that fire together, wire together, visualization of the best way to undertake a specific skill or deal with a tricky critical moment consolidates the networks that are called upon in actual play. Highly targeted visualization training in how to deal with Critical Moments should be an integral part of any peak performance program.
Critical moments do not occur that often. That is why pilots are trained in flight simulators. The technology is now available (for example, using
miniaturized video goggles or simply a high resolution REALISTIC Video – training with MyCalmBeat while watching Critical Moments on video) to simulate critical moments in sport.
This accelerates the ‘Gordon 1000 times rule’ to Practice, Visualize, or Simulate to generate a new brain circuit and habit by doing the task 1000 times. It helps you automatically switch on the brain networks that keep you in the moment and allow you to ignore negative disruptive thoughts in high pressure Critical Moments.
Training your ability to access your zone of peak performance
A number of processes that contribute to zone can be trained. They include both brain and body functions:
A clear brain-body model to get into and stay in zone.
The right amount of focus and automatic implementation (staying in the moment and free of negative thoughts, so that all your brain’s neurons are in automatic unrushed practiced routine implementation mode and activity feels ‘slowed down’).
Seamless flow, as measured by optimal speed/accuracy and consistency of peak performance. Not over-trying or overcompensating in an effort to make up for previous errors.
Optimal arousal that is personalized for you. Too much or too little arousal (measured via sweat rate or heart rate) is linked with worse performance than optimal arousal, which is linked to peak performance. Mastery over arousal/anxiety is also linked to being able to ‘stay in the moment’ and not think about outcomes.
A personalized breathing rate that optimizes your maximum heart rate variability.
Using a word or symbol or personalized breathing at critical moments to trigger Positivity and switch out any negative intrusive thoughts.
An optimal balance of right hemisphere relative to left hemisphere activity (measured via EEG electrical activity), which may override conscious Thinking and increase nonconscious automatic ‘In The Moment’ performance.
Starting to exhale (and a longer exhalation than inhalation) just prior to key shot execution (measured via video), which facilitates a more automatic brain function zone state.
Training the above factors until they are nonconscious and automatic at critical moments allows you to avoid the ultimate disruptor of zone, which is ‘Cognitive Dissonance.’ This is when your nonconscious, automatic, in-the-moment flow clashes with your conscious intrusive Thinking about Negative outcomes.
I am always mesmerized by watching the hardiest, most phenomenal peak performers stumble at Critical Moments. Even the world¹s top performers will occasionally change their timing between practice and actual shots or stand fractionally too long over the ball and show inappropriate frustration that changes their rhythm for the rest of their game.
Automatic, trained, routine positive zone implementation in the face of negativity is the key to peak performance. Zone training removes contradictory thoughts, maximizes relentless Positivity under any circumstance, and increases confidence in winning.
Immerse and Staying in the moment
Training into a long term optimized brain habit
Triggering and maintaining your Zone of optimal peak performance.
Training Self Mastery in the immediate seconds of performance reduces the likelihood of Critical Moments distorting performance and maximizes the likelihood of winning.
Immediate circuit breaking of negativity into positive brain state.
Integrative Adaptive Optimization.
Exceptionally effective at Organizing Principle: mastery of their Fear to achieve the most impacting long term Rewards.
Not distracted by negativity and stay in their ‘Personalized Timing Zone of Peak Performance’.
Master ‘critical moments’ in each game:
Every moment of the game should be dominated by one thought:
‘What can I do now to add value.’ It¹s only that moment that matters.
This will allow you to set up and automatically stay in ‘your zone of peak
Performance’ every moment for full time of the game. ‘Critical moments’ become the same as any other moment.
Know-Train+ MONITOR what works for Your Peak Performance.
If you can¹t measure it you can¹t manage it.
Measurement is essential to select the best personalized brain training tools and to objectively monitor their effectiveness over time (including miniaturized real world brain-body measures on the field of play).
Winning (not marketing hype) is the final arbiter of whether a personalized peak performance training program works or not.
Know your brain.
Train new brain habits. Its now over to you.