View Full Version : What zone are you in ?

06-28-2003, 10:09 AM
Living with an sl7, lots of things get talked about(even things that after 10 months of pool, I do not need to know) /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif. WW is somewhat of an intellectual, which is why in our house many things are discussed, which in reality, have no reflection on my pool game. Interesting discussion is what it is. When I am practicing or in a match, none of this is in my head, just potting balls, fundamentals etc.

I have heard so many talk about the’zone’. Many talk about the time or times they were in that state, try to define it and how to get back there.

Blackjack, in fact, has an article on how to get into the zone and stay there.

This has in fact caused me to wonder if there are two (or more) types of zones and if this is the case, perhaps confusion is caused by labeling them the same.

One seems to be what I call the ‘woowoo zone’. The person does not know how they got there or how they can get back. Time ceases to exist and everything but the table goes away and all the rest of what people talk about with respect to that.

I wonder if there is another one which is somewhat different but is related to experience, superb focus, and concentration; one which due to such high expertise that it can be entered at will. When a very good player says ‘I am in the zone all of the time’ or someone like David writes an article about how to stay in it all of the time, which zone he is talking about.

I know what state I had to be in in Karate to win in competition. If you can imagine a not very big circle with two competitors and a judge, with spectators surrounding all the way around, almost touching that circle and yelling. It would be like trying to play pool with spectators around the table, and yelling, and only 3 feet away. Almost perfect focus would be crucial to block that out. That was the environment I learned to focus in in karate and now in pool believe that a high level of focus is also crucial to playing good pool.

So what zone are you in and how many are there?


06-28-2003, 10:40 AM
"and now in pool believe that a high level of focus is also crucial to playing good pool."

I'm not entirely sure that focus and the true zone are in tandem, in fact I feel that "making" your focus a priority actually "thinks the true zone away." It's been seldom that I have actually been in the zone, you know,,,,that time when you are neither inside or outside of your body, more like you are a celestrial body(stay away from me Patrick!) When I do hit the zone, I'm gliding about the table and all of the layout is easy for me, no thinking or focusing or bearing down. If I had to attribute any feature of the persona as critical for zone attainment it would be the solid belief that you are good, absent the cocky attitude, just KNOWING who you are when you are at the table. This is one reason that a good approach to your health is so important. If you feel sluggish and weak, then you'll play sluggish and weak. The only reason focus can help me is when I'm screwing my cue together, I focus on who I am and that I can play, if I'll simply let it happen, almost by itself, I'll play well.

Your question about different types of zones is easy. You are either hitting everything you want or you are not, in which case the zone just ain't happening, not even a variation if it. The zone is easy, yet so ellusive due to the fact that you as a human have self doubts acquired from past failures. A failure, a loss,,,those are as important as the win. It's difficult to explain it, but it's(zone) is always there, just don't fight it. Stay healthy and remember that you are good, ESPECIALLY after you miss gimmes and the such. That piece of time is probably the most destructive for most players, cuz they blame themselves and tense up. All the focus in the world probably won't help you then...sid

06-28-2003, 10:53 AM

06-28-2003, 11:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> "and now in pool believe that a high level of focus is also crucial to playing good pool."

I'm not entirely sure that focus and the true zone are in tandem, in fact I feel that "making" your focus a priority actually "thinks the true zone away." sid <hr /></blockquote>

Hey sid, I know how I feel when I am shooting well but have only actually been in this woowoo state a couple of times, which was when I was playing against real good players.It was an extended period of time, almost trancelike when time stood still, I had no awareness of games played, noise did not exist, etc.

When I first got into pool, and people were talking about zone, had no earthly idea what they were talking about.Words are difficult. There was a state in karate we called flow and I do not know if the two words mean the same thing.

I can only define what I meant by focus by the way it is for me when I am playing my best. Perhaps focus was not the best word because it is focus and relaxation at the same time when everything except the shot I am down on goes away. Self condemnation or the thought that I might miss does not even enter my mind. There is nothing there except the shot. In between shots, or times at the table, I can talk to people, but once I am back down on the next shot, everything else goes away again. This does not seem to be the zone I have heard people talk about. I obviously do not do this on every match and kind of wonder if very experienced shooters can do this any time they choose because of experience,concentration, confidence, relaxation etc.

So thanks.


phil in sofla
07-02-2003, 03:44 PM
There is a paradox concerning the kind of focus involved when in the zone. It is an unintentional focus, or an unforced focus, that can be disrupted to where you're out of the zone if you focus on your focus in a normal act of intentional mental concentration. It is exactly the kind of flow you describe, and it is non-verbal, the 'rational mind' sitting it out while the performance is allowed to unfold naturally, without the internal distractions of much self-talk in your head, with no doubting allowed, or even considered. It is fragile enough in some cases that just having an opponent mention that you're in the zone may knock you out of it, simply by your thinking about it and what it means.

Now, playing in an excellent fashion, and maybe even making all your shots and running out, doesn't mean you're in the zone. The zone is really (at least) the suspension of all that left brain internal chatter, freeing up the shooter within to perform uninfluenced and unhindered by fear or doubt, or even any conscious attempt to control the stroking or speed, just seeing the pattern, knowing where you want to get next, and having the certain feeling that, of course, you will get it done, and then you do. Over and over again.

Clues to being in the zone might include being told you just ran out the table from the break, and you say, 'I DID????,' being so in the moment, and in each shot, that little else, even the details of the game or match, like the score, come to mind.

Deliberate attempts to enter the zone are almost counterproductive, except that relaxation and a near-hypnotic state of mind are part of being in the zone, and those necessary, but not sufficient, conditions can be fostered, to give you a better chance at attaining it. The 'Dead Stroke' hypnotic induction tapes attempt to create a post-hypnotic suggestion in its users, so that they can trigger a trance-like state with a phrase. Other attempts at the same sort of thing involve something from almost a Tony Robbins-Neurolinguistic Programming sort of thing, using the physical trigger of grounding that state of mind into an overt act, such as touching your index finger to your thumb, or touching some part of your body, that you've learned to associate with the right state of alert relaxation that is conducive to reaching the zone.