FLASHING-OUT ON OUTCOME
The Now Drill is designed to help you recognize where you are locating your visual and mental focus during the point, which will help in the removal of most of your flash-outs.
The most common flash-out of all occurs immediately after contact when the ball leaves your racquet. It seems only natural to watch the ball after you hit it to see if your shot goes in or out.
Watching the ball after contact is the traditional way we get our success or failure feedback. By focusing on the ball after contact we immediately know the outcome of our shots. And in a game where the scoring system is based on the outcome of our shots, it only seems logical that we should focus on our shots to see if they go in or out.
Focusing on outcome is an integral part of “watching the ball” as a visual strategy. VDF, remember, involves keeping the ball in focus as it flies back and forth across the net.
But every time you focus on the ball, whether before or after contact, you are simultaneously defocusing from your contact zone and coming out of the FDF visual input pattern that is the heart and soul of the zone.
End result: when you flash-out on the outcome of your shots, you immediately come out of the zone and return to your normal performance state.
THE NOW DRILL
If watching the ball (VDF) is your visual strategy, then focusing on the outcome is integral to that strategy. But if locating the contact point on your imaginary window (FDF) is your visual strategy, then focusing on your shot after you make contact is a flash-out on the outcome.
Maintaining a visual and mental focus on your contact zone before, during, and after contact means never flashing-out on the outcome of your shots, and to help you keep your focus fixed on your contact zone before, during, and after contact, we have developed the “Now Drill.”
That’s it. That’s all you do in the Now Drill.
The idea is to defocus from the ball after you hit it and keep your eyes focused on your contact zone. The Now Drill is designed to make you aware of the location of your visual focus. Remember, when you flash-out on your shot, you immediately stop playing tennis in the zone and return to playing tennis in the norm.
The zone can leave you in the blink of an eye, or with a flash-out on your shot. Maintaining the zone is like walking a tightrope on which your balance depends on keeping your visual and mental focus fixed on your contact zone.
Lose control of your focus, flash-out, and you lose the zone.
The Now Drill teaches you to keep your focus on your contact zone at a very important time in every exchange – the time just after you make contact with the ball. The time when your shot is either going in or going out.
The time of outcome.
LETTING GO OF THE OUTCOME
The Now Drill requires that you visually and mentally “let go” of the ball after you hit it. To accomplish this you simply keep your eyes focused on your contact zone after you hit the ball.
Defocusing from the ball causes you to defocus from the outcome.
With your eyes focused on your contact zone, you won’t lose sight of the ball. In fact, you still see the ball leaving your racquet. The only difference is that the ball moves out of focus as it moves away from your contact zone.
Remember that maintaining the zone means maintaining a fixed-focus state, which means keeping your eyes and your mind focused on your contact zone throughout the course of each point.
Good shots, bad shots, the outcome doesn’t matter. With FDF you keep your eyes off the outcome and on your contact zone – before, during, and after contact.