David Ortiz is one of two baseball players in MLB history to get on base 15 times (11 hits and 4 walks) in the first five games in a World Series.
Is Ortiz performing in the zone at the right time?
Think for a moment how impressive it is to be on base 15 times out of 20 plate appearances (75%).
How does a player become so “locked in” that he is able to achieve block out all distractions and achieve such a high level of success?
Being “locked in,” “in the zone” or in the “flow” are terms describing a mental state of performing at a high level in which the athlete is fully immersed in playing almost as if they are on “autopilot.”
This peak performance mindset is characterized by:
- An energized focus
- Complete absorption in the activity (devoid of distraction)
- Total enjoyment in the process of the activity (where competing seems to take on an almost effortless quality)
A baseball player achieves this mental state by just playing, in other words, getting out of the way by calming the mind to react.
Ortiz, 37 years old, is playing with a sense of urgency as he is towards the later stages of his career.
“I don’t have another 10 years in me. I don’t know when I’m going to be back in the World Series. So I have to give everything I have right now.”
“Giving it everything right now” implies being of singular focus… merely playing the game.
When you overcome all the distractions from your attention, you free yourself to be immersed in playing in the present moment.
In this 2013 World Series against formidable St Louis Cardinal pitching, Ortiz is 11 for 15, with 2 home runs, 6 runs batted in, 5 runs scored and a .733 batting average in five games.
Ortiz realizes the importance of maintaining his focus and enjoying the ride.
“It’s about 10 days. You’ve got to bring your A game every day. It’s like I told my teammates, you think you’re going to come to the World Series every year — you’re wrong, especially playing in the A.L. East. You know how many people we beat up to get to this level? A lot of good teams. A lot of good teams. That doesn’t happen every year.”
How can a baseball player have the mindset to get into an optimal mental state of flow?
Think back to a time when you played your best…
What were you thinking about or not thinking about?
What was your main focus?
Did your play seem effortless or were you trying to force the issue as you played?
Were you thinking about failing, striking out, making an out, losing the game or did you just play the game without evaluating your performance as you played?
Being “in the zone,” like David Ortiz, is a matter of getting out of your own way and allowing your body to do want you trained it to do.
This way you do not interfere with your learned skills that help you react in game situations.
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