Everyone wants to perform in the zone, or in flow, but to nearly everyone, it is an “X-factor” because it is elusive, a mystery and people don’t know HOW to be in the zone consistently.

To me, the zone is our natural state. It is a state of no thought (at least we don’t realize we are thinking) and a clear mind. Or as my friend, Garret Kramer calls it, “Stillpower,” which is also the name of his great book. It’s the opposite of “will power” i.e., trying, grinding or pushing through. The zone is a state of ease and freedom and a place where we have access to all of our instincts, wisdom and well-being.

Now let’s talk about what the zone is not, or in other words, a losing streak or slump.

I was once talking to a top baseball prospect in the clubhouse before a game and he confided in me that earlier that season he was in a big slump. During that slump, he tried fixing his grip. He tried fixing his stance. And he tried fixing his swing.

Nothing worked.

Then one day, he just said to himself, “You know what? Screw it.” He stopped “trying” to fix his game.

Well, that same night he broke out of his slump.

He went back to just playing, instead of fighting the slump or trying to fix things.

When we take a step back and let our minds naturally clear, we have access to everything we need. And we have access to our natural state…the zone.

Thanks for reading.

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In the Yankee Stadium bleachers with Jeff Nelson, a 4-time World Series Champion

I recently spent some time with the former Yankee great, Jeff Nelson at Yankee Stadium. We were at an event for Cystic Fibrosis and participated in the famous roll call with bleacher creature, Bald Vinny, Yankee writer, Jon Lane, and my friend Fred Weiland, among others.

What did I learn from “Nellie”?

1. He was always confident.
2. He was always nervous.
3. He treated both feelings the same way.

Nelson said that he was always confident, but there are so many factors in sports so you never know what’s going to happen. He also said that being nervous is normal. And he didn’t think too much about either one. That leads me to my Top 5 Ways to Play in the Zone Almost Instantly.

1. Understand that feelings (both positive and negative) are random.
2. Understand that feelings (both positive and negative) are neutral.
3. Understand that feelings come and go.
4. Understand that feelings come from your own thoughts.
5. Understand that if you don’t take your thoughts and feelings so seriously, you will play in the zone more consistently.

Notice my Top 5 has no technique, routine or ritual? There’s no how-to. All you need is UNDERSTANDING. The reason why is because when you are in a slump and you look to a technique, it will not work. It will just begin to make you think more. And when you think more, you perform less. The zone is a state of no thought (at least you don’t realize you are thinking), so why would you do the opposite when things are not going your way?

I don’t know either.

Let me end with a quote from another famous Yankee…

“You can’t think and hit at the same time. A full mind is an empty bat.”
—Yogi Berra


Dr. Alan Goldberg is one of the top sports psychologists in the world. Goldberg says you have to know when to be serious in sports.

“The time to try hard and get serious should ONLY be WHEN YOU PRACTICE and NEVER, EVER WHEN YOU STEP INTO THE COMPETITIVE ARENA,” says Goldberg.

“When you get ‘serious’ about the outcome of any game, match or race you inadvertently set yourself up for frustration and failure.”

Think about a time when you performed “in the zone” or “in flow.”

Didn’t you “just” do it? Weren’t you focused but relaxed?

That’s peak performance.

How do you do it?

Focus on your strategy, effort and attitude, instead of the outcome.


Have you ever been in the zone?

Didn’t the tennis ball look like a beach ball?


Part One: Look around you and find a nearby object, like a pen or piece of paper. Now slowly reach for it tightening every muscle in your body. Move as slow as you can. Now slowly bring it to your chest and slowly place it down back where you found it.

Part Two: Now reach for the same object normally and bring it to your chest and back.

Didn’t it feel effortless the second time? When you’re in the zone (or as I like to say, “the state of ‘ON'”) you are just flowing; you are just doing.

When we think too much, especially about negative things, we mentally tighten up just like when you were physically reaching for that object a moment ago.

When you mentally tighten up, your mind is not clear and therefore your body won’t function at peak performance.

Your effort should be ALL-OUT…

But your attitude should be A LITTLE RELAXED.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend. -BRUCE LEE


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Jonathan Star.


Are you reacting to life, or are you CREATING what you want?

If you’re like most people, you are reacting to what life brings.

On the tennis court, most players react to the last point, good or bad.

After we lose a point, we generally have a negative response. After we win a point, we generally have a positive response.

The secret however, is to CREATE a winning point and feeling, BEFORE the point begins.

I just finished reading the manuscript of one of the best books I have read recently, “GAME ‘ON’: THE FLOW, THE ZONE & THE STATE OF ‘ON,’ IN SPORTS AND LIFE” by Jonathan Star.

In his book, Star talks about this idea of creating what you want instead of reacting to the last one.

Star says that if you lose a point, you should let it go immediately and if you win a point, you should stay with that winning feeling until right before the next point begins.

“In my own view of things, being ‘in the zone’ refers to a state where everything is going right, where you are making your shots, where there is a certain ease and flow to your game. The state of ‘on’ – or what we may call ‘full on,’ since there are different levels in this state – is not so much a feeling that everything is going right, but the feeling that you can do no wrong. It is an elevation of the zone – you’re not in the zone, you’re not going with the flow, you’re creating it. You are not ‘in’ the state, you are the state. But you come to feel this way when you allow a higher dimension of your self to enter the game and bring it to a whole new level.”

Are you creating, or are you reacting?

Stay tuned for more on the state of “on.”