How to Get into the Zone for Optimal Athletic Performance!

By Dr. David P. Sortino – Neurofeedback Center for Increased Athletic Performance.
** High-Level Athletes Who’ve Amped-Up Their Performance with Neurofeedback!
• Phil Mickelson: World Golf Hall of Famer
• C Milan football club has introduced their mind room including neurofeedback training since 2006, and based on their World Cup win it was adopted by Real Madrid. Chelsea began using it in 2009.
• Denver Broncos: AFL Division Leaders 2014 & Super Bowl Champions 2016
• New York Giants: Super bowl Champs 2008 & 2012
• Chicago Bears: NFL Division Leaders 2007
• New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2008
• Alexandre Bilodeau–the Canadian men’s mogul champion who won Olympic gold in 2010 & 2014–credited his gold medal to neurofeedback.
• The Canadian Olympic team used neurofeedback extensively in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
• The Vancouver Canucks Men’s Hockey Team–after a 20-year post-season drought–won the 2011 Stanley Cup championship; also, they’re holders of the best regular season in the NHL in both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.
• The Italian National Men’s Soccer Team won the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
• Jessica Hardy: 2012 U.S. Swim Team Olympic Gold Medalist
• Eric Shanteau: 2012 U.S. Swim Team Olympic Gold Medalist
• Tennis Player Mary Pierce: Winner of Four Grand Slam Titles
• NASA astronaut training centre
• United States Olympic Training Center
**For Free Talks or Appointments: ** Contact Dr. David P. Sortino at The Neurofeedback Institute for Improved Athletic Performance – 707-829-8315 or davidsortino@comcasts.net. Dr. Sortino is the author of the following Books: Brain Gains (2020), Brain Changers, (2021), From Street Smart to School Smart (2021), Understanding How the Brain Learns (2019) as well as numerous Santa Rosa Press articles concerning athletic and learning performance – See Dr. David Sortino – Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

** SEE BACK OF PAGE FOR A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF “IN THE ZONE!”
In the Zone – Dr. David Sortino
Being in the zone is every athlete’s dream. It’s as if time slows down and you see everything so clearly. You just know that everything about your technique is spot on. It just feels so effortless; it’s almost as if you’re floating. Every muscle, every fiber, every sinew is working in complete harmony and the end product is that you run fantastically well (Mind Games, Grout and Perrin, 2006). For amateurs, it may happen only a few times in their athletic life. For professionals, it could be a constant; occurring each time their mind and body operate as one, allowing for the highest degree of athletic performance. In fact, the ability to tap into the zone might be the factor that separates the superb athlete from the average athlete. The successful athlete can tap into the zone more frequently, whereas the average athlete cannot.
When an individual is in the zone he experiences what could be termed relaxed concentration or the time period during which sensory and motor skills operate in perfect harmony. For professional athletes, the zone condition allows the game or competition to come to a crawl. The baseball becomes larger and moves more slowly. The three foot golf putt becomes three inches. Every shot in basketball is makeable. The same might be said of the surgeon in the operating room or CEO dealing with an intense business deal. Some brain scientists describe the zone as functioning between acute awareness and/or energized focus. A person in the zone feels immersed in a state of single-minded fusion in the act of performing or learning. He can access the zone by inducing gamma wave states. Gamma wave states show up as bursts of activity at 40 Hz every 10 to 14 seconds. Or they may show up as bursts of the famous alpha wave, at 10 Hz. Both are markers for the desired state. We all function with these same frequencies. However, great athletes can get into an expanded gamma or focused gamma state more quickly and probably more intensely than average players of a similar skill level. Monks arrive in their zone during meditation.
An important area associated with the zone is our brain’s left hemisphere, which represents our critical side, particularly when we experience failure. When performance is inconsistent, the brain tends to react both cognitively and emotionally. At the cognitive level, the left brain tries its best to assert control. At the emotional level, the right brain anticipates repeat failure and reacts accordingly. Both strategies by the brain are disruptive of the state of “being in the zone,” and therefore may be counter-productive.
What characterizes the “flow” state is a kind of “automaticity.” The right things just seem to happen effortlessly and without a lot of forethought. If, in anticipation of failure, the left hemisphere grabs the reins, it may very well ‘overthink’ the situation. And if the right hemisphere grabs the reins, the emotional turmoil may well short-circuit higher-order thinking and executing. Lost in this process is the ‘unitary’ quality, the effortless fusion of right- and left-hemisphere function that characterizes being in the zone.
We are beginning to understand the neural circuitry that underlies these marvelous functional capacities. We are beginning to understand how disruptive our fear circuitry can be to our functional status, and how our ‘executive function’ can be undermined. We are beginning to understand how the smooth integration of our left and right hemispheres is reflected in higher gamma and alpha amplitudes, which is the key to our optimum performance. Athletes use meditation and creative visualization, and as we know, performance enhancing drugs (PED) to improve performance and/or to get into the zone. Unfortunately, meditation and visualization have proved to produce only limited success with athletes. Fortunately, one successful non-invasive strategy that can promote gamma and alpha wave states is called neurofeedback which has also proved to be highly successful with athletes in all sports. Contact Dr. David Sortino at 707-829-8315 or davidsortino@comcast.net.

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