It’s always interesting to teach people how to play tennis in the zone, although I never know how they will take to the Parallel Mode Process (PMP), especially how they will take to the difference in visual and mental focus. That’s always where the rubber meets the road. Some players like it and are willing to make the switch from variable-depth of focus (VDF) to fixed-depth of focus (FDF), while others would rather stay with VDF, even though VDF doesn’t get them in the zone. The changes involved with FDF are too much for them and they are not willing to give up their comfort zone in order to become better.
It’s curious how people cling to their comfort zone thinking they can reach their full-potential through improving their normal performance state. They refuse to let go of the safety and comfort of the norm in order to experience the unknown territory of the zone.
Their behavior is so automatic when it comes to tennis. Most people walk on the court in their normal behavioral state and play the majority of their matches in their normal behavioral state; only experiencing the flow state of the zone on those rare occasions when they unconsciously let go of their normal connection to the game and connect on a higher plane, a spiritual plane, if you will. That’s the transcendent plane of the zone, and players who switch to their parallel mode of operation will experience, first-hand, this powerful spiritual connection.
When you are in the zone you can’t help but experience this spiritual connection, and once you start interfacing with the spiritual dimension of the game, you will experience more deeply the immediate and dramatic benefits of making that connection.
The main attraction of the zone, however, is not that it connects you to the spiritual dimension of the game. The main attraction is that when you are in the zone you play at a much higher level than normal, so I don’t bring up the spiritual dimension when I first start teaching people how to play tennis in the zone. Instead, I go with what is attractive to everyone – playing better. People always play better when they get in the zone, and that higher level of performance is usually more important to them than some ethereal notion of a spiritual connection to tennis. Most people could give a hoot about the spiritual dimension as long as they can beat the crap out of their opponents.
People want to play better; that’s human nature, and if you can give people a way to play better, and to play better immediately, they will seek you out. Or so you would think. There are plenty of programs out there that lay claim to the secret to peak performance, but when you look more closely at their curriculum, they are really just more of the same: eat well, train hard, get plenty of sleep, be biomechanically sound, strategically smart, mentally tough, and practice, practice, practice.
No doubt you will get better if you follow that plan, but a plan that teaches you how to play better tennis in the norm is not the same as a plan that teaches you how to play tennis in the zone.
We don’t teach you how to play better tennis in the norm. We go straight to playing tennis in the zone. We go straight to the underlying operational interface that is causal to the human peak performance state. The secret to playing tennis in the zone does not involve your diet, your physical conditioning, your sleep habits, your biomechanics, or you on-court strategy. It does involve your mind, however, but mostly it involves your “whole” VCM operating system (brain/mind included) and how your whole operating system directly interfaces with the action occurring in the tennis environment.
The more efficiently and accurately your operating system interfaces with that action, the higher your level of performance. Add to that the fact that your most efficient and accurate operational interface – a Parallel Interface – is the underlying operational interface of the behavioral state of flow, and you’ve got a very real way to improve both your on-court performance and your on-court behavior simultaneously.
You can’t separate performance and behavior, so you might as well go to the source of what makes them both better at the same time, and that source is the human VCM operating system. Go there and you will find the secret to playing in the zone.