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Mental Exercises to Help Athletes “Get in the Zone”

By: Jessica Pinkham

For many athletes, being “in the zone” is an immersive moment of super productivity; a type of tunnel vision, where one is hyper-focused on something to become our best and most powerful self. Professional survival expert Mike Horn had this to say about “the zone”: “And the moment that everything slows down, is that perfect moment of flow and nothing is rushed.”

The oft sought after yet illusive state of being “in the zone” is the number one goal for many athletes. If you’re struggling to get in the zone, here are some techniques to get you in that winning mindset.

Physical Routines

First, create a physical routine to prepare your body as well as any equipment you may be utilizing. Ideas for physical routines include: checking your equipment to make sure everything is ready; preparing clothes or other items you need in advance; listening to music to get you feeling positive and upbeat. You can also make your warm-up a bit more special by breathing into each step during warm-up, hyper-focusing on getting your muscles really loose. You can also meet with your teammates to review your strategies and game plans.

Mental Routines

The next step in your routine is to prepare your mind. Use your mind to clear your thoughts and focus on your goals. For example, you can take 10 minutes to analyze the different situations you might face, and how you would handle each scenario. You can also try reading over positive affirmations or motivating quotes. Visualize yourself performing at your best, focusing on how your body feels as you perform, then imagine yourself achieving your goals. Review game strategies and visualize yourself executing each play successfully. Visualize yourself performing at your best, and beating your opponents.


Your final step is strategy: tactically prepare. Think about how you’re going to execute your game plan, and how you will overcome unexpected or tough situations.

Once you’ve developed your pre-game routine, practice it before your next game and work on memorizing the steps as you do them. Through trial and error, and perhaps advice from your peers, you can then determine which strategies do or don’t work for you, making adjustments as needed. Keep practicing this method until you finalize your routine. Use this routine on a regular and consistent basis to help you “get in the zone”.

Finding your state of ultimate concentration and focus doesn’t have to be difficult. With knowledge, practice, and consistency you can get into the zone quickly and more often.

Are you an athlete looking for help and guidance to achieve your athletic goals? Call my office today and let’s set up an appointment to talk.





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