If you have ever watched any kind of sports you have heard the term “in the zone” before. It usually refers to someone who had an exceptional game or performance. If you have ever played or participated in any sports you may have found yourself in this zone at one time or another.
I can remember a few times in the past where I would have considered myself in the zone while participating in sports. In baseball I played catcher and it was my job to try to get the pitcher relaxed. Not worry about the batter just playing catch between the two of us. I can remember one game where the pitcher was just on that day. I think we were both “in the zone” that day. It seemed like it was just the two of us out there playing catch. Another time is while running track at an indoor meet. These meets were loud and in an enclosed space. We were running a relay, but it seemed that my team were the only ones on the track. I was only focused on receiving the hand-off and passing the baton, everything else was a blur.
There is no formula for getting in the zone. The more I think of this idea of getting in the zone I feel it is not restricted to sports. As we transition into adult life and a majority of us leave behind sports we do not have to leave behind the idea of being in the zone. When is the last time we were in the zone while praying? while reading our Bible? while talking with our spouse? while playing with our kids? Remember I said being in the zone is pushing out everything around and focusing on one thing ahead of you.
Even though there may be not hard and fast formula for being in the zone we can look at past experiences and see what can be learned from them. In my two instances it was preparation, repetition and focus that brought me into the zone. Let’s break down this formula from the case of the baseball game.
Preparation. This game took place during my Junior Year of High School, the last year I played baseball. At that point in time I had been played baseball for the past 13 years. We practiced everyday after school for around 2 hours. I think the preparation was taken care of.
Repetition. One thing a catcher has to get used to is repetition. Every pitcher is different, but the result is the same for the catcher. Pitch, catch, return to pitcher, repeat. When a pitcher is on, it is repetitious. Including practice which was heavily pitching and catching you were ready for the repetition. This was something you felt like you could do in your sleep.
Focus. The catcher has to have eyes on the field. It is the only position that is able to see the entire field. You have to pay particular attention to the pitcher though. You have to be focused and vocal for the entire team.
I say all that to get to this….
Can we recreate this in zone in our everyday lives? The whole reason this post came to mind is because I witnessed my wife in the zone Sunday afternoon. You may think this is ridiculous, but I assure you it was amazing to witness. It may not have been a triple double, pitching a perfect game or rushing for 300yds but I think it was the parental equivalent. It seemed like a simple task of implementing a chore system that we had worked on the prior night. She explained it perfectly, had the kids attention, fielded questions and talked about it enthusiastically. She may not get the acclaim of a professional athlete, but she gets my admiration.
So, strive for the zone this week in whatever task you are doing.