Sports Psychology: Mental Strategies To Find The Zone

Sports Psychology: Mental Strategies To Find The Zone

Sports Psychology Mental Strategies: Dr. Patrick Cohn, Sports and Golf Psychology Expert of Peak Performance Sports, LLC ( answers a Mental Game of Golf Question from a golfer, in his new video series titled, “Ask Doc.” This golfer wants to know the Mental Strategies for getting into the zone and performing his best. Find out how to set the conditions to get into the zone.

0:28 Submit Your Mental Game Question
1:30 Having a Good Mental Game
3:31 Online Mental Training Program

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Posted by Patricia Adams


Ron Cavaliere

Doc, is it not a per-requisite, to have a solid, basic game to build on? 3 of my trainers, were hall-of-famers, they first taught me, after seeing, I was passionate,and would anything necessary to maximize my success, It was necessary to , even though i had been at a pro-level, re-build my basic game. My ‘ZONE’ arrived to me in a regional PBA tournament. This was, quiet confidence, solid training, belief in myself, as far as gametraining, NO-ONE can be there for you unless they are PRO’S

Patrick Cohn

Yes, it helps to have a solid game before you do the mental conditioning. That way you can determine if it’s a mental or physical error.


What are your thoughts on the contextual interference effect?

Bruce Wright

Dr. Cohn says that the ZONE doesn’t exist.  He is incorrect.  I say this because I have experienced it.  As a hitter in fastpitch softball, I discovered this ZONE almost by accident out of my desperation to succeed against the world’s best fastpitch softball pitcher during the 1970’s, a man named Ty Stofflet.  For two weeks prior to the big Regional tournament where I would face Ty, I picked ONE pitch, Ty’s 104 mph Popper which would have to be in about a 5″ square window in my impact area. I mentally rehearsed seeing myself hit that exact pitch on a line hundreds and hundreds of times, always perfect.
I envisioned the barrel of my bat crushing into the center of the ball, compressing it like a half moon up against my bat.  I saw the ball explode off my bat on a zero-degree line shot, parallel to the ground for a base hit.  I did this mental rehearsal exercise hundreds and hundreds of times from start to finish, including all the details.  I saw the ball leave his hand which would trigger the start of my short and smooth stride.  I would track the ball with both eyes seeing it follow the path it must take to get to my 5″ square impact area.  I did this over and over, again and again, hundreds of times, more like thousands of times during those two weeks leading up to the big tournament.  I was never absolutely sure if it would work or not but I felt a growing level of confidence from the common sense nature of my plan.  Well, in the tournament I hit 4 line shots in 6 trips to the plate against Ty and led the tournament in hitting.  I saw the ball in a “slower motion” than ever before. The ball looked bigger, closer, and easier to see.   This enhanced form of space-time perception stayed with me during the entire tournament.  I never hit the ball so well in my life.  I had never experienced this ZONE in my life.  It is very real.  However, in my experience, you will experience it AFTER you have envisioned something very specific, again and again, hundreds, even thousands of times.  The more you mentally rehearse something, the stronger becomes a neuro-physical(mind-body) blueprint of perfection within you.  This is the only way I know to experience the ZONE.  You must work your ass off first.

Bruce Wright

I watched this video again today and must say that this man, Dr. Patrick Cohn, is a perfect example of the type of “sports psychologists” who have been practicing for the past 25 years.  He, personally, has never experienced the zone so he denies its existence.  I met with the famous  Dr. Bob Rotella at the University of Virginia about 25 years ago who admitted to me that he had never experienced the zone either.  He simply preaches the “staying focused in the NOW” philosophy, among other things, but not how to find this mystical zone.  In my opinion, this overall failure by sports psychologists to effectively help athletes find their zone is the main reason the entire field of sports psychology has not flourished.  First of all, the vast majority of “sports psychologists” do not get their degrees from the “Psychology” department in a college.  They get their degrees in the “Education” department, more specifically “physical education”.  I learned this when I called the University of Virginia to make an appointment to see Dr. Rotella.  The switchboard operator asked me, “Which department Dr. Rotella was in?”  I simply assumed he was a professor in the Psychology department.  When she transferred me to the Psychology Department, the receptionist there had no idea who Dr. Bob Rotella was.  After I explained that he was the most famous professor at the University of Virginia for working with so many players on the PGA Tour, she said maybe I should try the “physical  education” department, located in the Gymnasium.  That’s where I found Dr. Rotella.  His office was in the gym.
No, ladies and gentlemen, if you want to experience your zone, you can. However, it requires the repetition of some particular activity, both mentally and physically, literally thousands and thousands of times.  Read my last response to this video I made about 3 months ago.  The ZONE is REAL.  However, you must be willing to work your ass off first to experience it during competition.  Ted Williams, the great hitter, often told his teammates that the pitch appeared to be travelling in SLOW motion.
The reason Ted frequently experienced his zone was that he physically rehearsed, using his hitting tee correctly, hitting various “exact” pitches in “exact” locations within his impact area “precisely” how and where he wanted to hit that particular pitch.  He used his hitting tee for approximately one hour every day.  Then, he would spend hours alone, either in a comfortable chair or while lying on his bed, mentally rehearsing those same “precision” hits over and over, again and again, hundreds of times every day, even thousands of times every day.  THIS is the ONLY way that I know actually WORKS!
These World Class figure skaters ALL do this.  If they didn’t they would stand a chance in hell. In a 5 minute skating routine, there are literally hundreds of precision moves they need to do and do PERFECTLY, or else they LOSE.  They not only have to physically practice skating their 5 minute routine, but they also spent hours, EVERY DAY, mentally rehearsing this 5 minute routine, seeing themselves perform perfectly, again and again.  The Luge competitors do the same thing.  They mentally rehearse racing down the ice from start to finish, in detail, over and over, thousands of times every day.  In many cases the difference between first and second place is just a couple of one-hundredths of a second.  At the world class level of competition, you had better learn how to enter this zone or you really don’t stand much of a chance.  I don’t mean to trash Dr. Cohn but I feel the TRUTH needs to be told.  The ZONE is real but can only be found through an intense level of WORK.

Elijah Rose

Sir, unless you’ve experienced that feeling when the clock is ticking down your mind is with out any doubt and u launch a shot from half court knowing its gonna go in or ever broke down in tears at home for no reason jus thinking about the game u love so much don’t open Your fucking mouth about something u haven’t experienced, go to your local court and camp there for a week straight and play every single game that comes by and tell me u can’t feel it


Hello I’m a basketball player and when I was play in the final of intercollegiate , we were losing and they put banking for about 5 minutes in that five minutes I close my eyes and tell myself trust yourself and then suddenly stopped ears could hear only they are stung the ball and when I entered the game had so much confidence in my shots that I was unable to think clearly just let my instincts acturan that has been my only experience in the zone .