Mizzou Football’s Zen Zone

The Zen Zone

Definition of the Zen Zone

Zen was developed through martial arts and fine arts. Zen zone means becoming “one” with what you are doing during each moment you are actually doing it. It is being all here, totally present, absorbing yourself in, connecting yourself to the moment, and becoming one with your body and your trust: when you are totally engaged in the process of doing, in a sense, you become what you are doing and suspend all judgments about yourself, others or your performance. If you begin to reflect, deliberate, question, condemn or judge along the way, you lose your pure connection or become disconnected, inattentive or distracted. There are times for thinking and reflecting, but there are also times to connect totally with what you are doing and to leave your conscious thinking behind. Performance is a time for connecting rather than reflecting.


Ridding Yourself of Obsessions

The mind that is filled with obsession is a mind that will not let the athlete focus and perform to his potential.

The obsessions you must get rid of are:

–       The desire for victory

–       The desire to out-psych your opponent

–       The desire to worry about other expectations

–       The desire to play your best and display all that you have learned

–       The desire to over-awe the enemy

–       The desire to not make a mistake

–       The desire to focus on mistakes while competing

When one of these obsesses you, you then become a slave, as it makes you lose all freedom you are entitled to. All of these obsessions hinder your focus and ability to perform at your best.


The Zen Performance

The zen performance is to train your mind to think and focus the right way to enhance your performance.

–       You focus on the experience, not winning or losing.

–       You don’t think; you react.

–       You focus on the experience of that one play.

–       Have nothing in your mind, keep it thoroughly cleansed of all obsessions, and focus on the one single play.

–       Turn yourself into a doll made of wood. It has no ego. It thinks nothing; let the body and limbs work themselves out in accordance with the discipline and teaching they have undergone. This is the way to win.

–       If you are thinking, you miss the point. If you are in total focus at that moment on that play, never concerned about the consequences, then you are on your way to the zen perspective. You must be relaxed and confident because you have prepared.

–       The event is the focus; the one play is the focus. You must relax and enjoy the one play.

–       Certain things cannot be forced. You must free yourself to let them happen.

–       You don’t have to consciously try to win in order to win. During the game, you get absorbed in the experience; be in the present (one play), trust your body, allow the performance that you have trained for to unfold, and the winning takes care of itself.