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How to get into the Zone

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    Posted: 07/26/2019 at 9:15pm
In training at times I can get into what could be called the zone, the ball slows down, I see the contact point on the ball and my standard goes up 30%. My coach calls this state the matrix. However in comps I seem to never get into this place as my mind is on wining, technique etc etc.

I think for me to get into the zone my awareness had to be more totally on the ball. I was wondering how other players get more often into this state of effortless play and is there any techniques members use to maintain this state of flow for longer?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Charlie Brown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/26/2019 at 9:22pm
*sigh*
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/26/2019 at 9:59pm
I liked this bit from the links though is is a bit depressing!

11. MYTH -- A Peak Performance Is Easily Duplicated. If you get into the zone you may feel that it will be simple to get there again. A zone performance can be a finicky, temperamental state. You can set up the conditions to ignite the zone, but you cannot exactly duplicate the zone on command.

This link offers some tips that could be applied in table tennis.


I take these suggestions in table tennis to do a few deep breaths before serving or serve return to focus on the body rather than the mind.
Then set an affirmation  to be totally focused on the ball.
Focus fully on the ball.



Edited by maurice101 - 07/26/2019 at 10:09pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote JohnnyChop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/26/2019 at 11:27pm
You can't get in the zone, the zone finds you Wink!
I don't think anyone can just turn the zone on at will, however you can train your focus so that it happens more often.
The couple tips I use in game is 
1. I might get some hate for this, but physically celebrating by action or Cho-ing realy helps me to relax and get into the zone, it relaxes you and pump you up at the same time.  Not saying I condone this but I am sure this is the reason why Harimoto or Scoz does the excessive celebration.
2. I try to mentally separate each point from the game, in other words, I try to win each point and not the game while I play. I find this helps me with not getting into a slump or not letting the tension of score effect my performance thus helping me to stay in the zone longer.
3. I try to make no technique adjustment within each game. I often find that technique adjustment mid game is often suicide. I have found it is crucial to trust the training you have done, and just try to have fun. Not trusting your technique leads to hesitation and this will always loose you a point.
4. Don't just train, play more games. Get familiar and comfortable with every in game situation.

5. Just an extra point, be sure that when you realize your opponent is in the zone, you need to try to disrupt his/her flow; maybe by calling a timeout, or at the risk of bad sportsmanship, delay the game abit. (Ma Lin was famous for this) 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fulanodetal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/27/2019 at 1:47am
Hey maurice!
Interesting subject!

For one I think the reason you find it easier to get into the zone while practicing with your coach is that you actually know the drill. And the coach is not trying to surprise you. Most of the time you know exactly where the ball will go so you have time to prepare for that ball. A game situation is exactly the opposite. Your opponent is trying to surprise you. He/she is trying to deceive you. Thus you're under a lot more stress. Also, many times the location might be different from where you usually practice. That's another factor to consider.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/27/2019 at 2:19am
Originally posted by maurice101 maurice101 wrote:

In training at times I can get into what could be called the zone, the ball slows down, I see the contact point on the ball and my standard goes up 30%. My coach calls this state the matrix. However in comps I seem to never get into this place as my mind is on wining, technique etc etc.

I think for me to get into the zone my awareness had to be more totally on the ball. I was wondering how other players get more often into this state of effortless play and is there any techniques members use to maintain this state of flow for longer?


in competition your mind is on technique? That shouldn't be the case. Technique doesn't matter in matches. You should focus on tactics and finding solutions that give you an advantage
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/27/2019 at 5:19pm
Ttgold, If I make a bad shot from bad technique in a match, I shadow swing the correct shot and move on.

I sort of feel if I can deepen my focus on the ball the balls slows down and if I am in the zone the random element would be easier to cope with.

I see from some of the google search links that this topic that this is a big focus of sports psychology at present.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/27/2019 at 8:39pm
I have only gotten there a couple of times and only once in TT.  I did it each time by combining a mantra with a rhythmic physical action. I repeated, almost silently, "Watch the ball, watch the ball"  while simultaneously lightly tapping my left hand on my left hip.  One tap coinciding with each word.  Of course this was between points only. When serving there was also a brief stoppage while I decided what tactic I was going to play.

The table tennis one was kind of interesting.  I was in the finals of a small tournament playing a person I had never even come close to beating.  When I went into the zone, everything did slow down even to the point I was seeing the label on the ball on topspin returns.  I beat the guy easily that day.  Do not remember ever beating him again.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/27/2019 at 11:52pm
Mjama, that is an interesting technique. It is similar to the emotional freedom technique. Maybe tapping points could be used between sets to settle the mind and increase focus. One point could be used between points instead of your hip. I have used the emotional freedom method with good results on other issues  in the past. I have seen it in videos cure snake phobias in 5 minutes.

It seems like a 20% performance increase in basketball performance from this research study.


More info



Edited by maurice101 - 07/27/2019 at 11:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 12:05am
Jonnychop, your point ...... be sure that when you realize your opponent is in the zone, you need to try to disrupt his/her flow; maybe by calling a timeout, or at the risk of bad sportsmanship, delay the game abit. (Ma Lin was famous for this)

My coach told me just yesterday to slow down the play when losing and serve faster when winning. I saw at the Australian Open the use of the timout to try to change the way the score was going too.


Edited by maurice101 - 07/28/2019 at 12:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hunkeelin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 1:22am
Don't worry about the zone. Unless we are talking about WR players zone is more often bad than good for us ameture. Why is that you say? Yes sure sometimes during rare occurrence you or your opponent gets into the zone; the problem here is, there's no way someone can sustain in the zone at our levels. They get too indulge and when they are off the zone they still think they are in the zone and start missing a bunch and lose without knowing. When I'm playing against someone who's hitting shot that's not at their level (aka they are in the zone), it's not something I'll worried about. That is because sooner or later after a few points or the next set they will start missing. On the contrary, by any chance you get into the zone you need to keep yourself in check and make sure when you are in it and when you are not. Realize asap and calm down.

Edited by hunkeelin - 07/28/2019 at 1:24am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hunkeelin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 2:59am
To reiterate, zone is something you don't worry/care about. It's something even the top levels have no idea. Take a look at this match ML vs FZD. Look at this point https://youtu.be/W4ZqFPevg9k?t=569 During that FZD was in the zone for 2 points. 
Then 
1 point: he get too excited and screw up his pushes 
1 point: he still fail to realize he wasn't in the zone, added too much on his serve and lost his serving point
1 point: Overshoot again

Of the 5 game point he lost, 3 of them are overshoot because he was too excited form the point he won 6-6.


Edited by hunkeelin - 07/28/2019 at 3:03am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GaryBuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 12:11pm
The classic and probably best treatment of this topic is Gallwey, W. Timothy (1974). The Inner Game of Tennis (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-49154-8. Really an excellent book for anyone involved in any competitive sport.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 12:11pm
if you want to get in "the zone" more you'll need to be in the game more. Meaning you need to be as relaxed as possible ( no nervousness). Try to always think about the game itself. Which serve should I serve next, where is he going to play it back. By thinking about these things you'll play without any negative tension. Then you'll have the best chance to get into the "zone"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heavyspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 1:13pm
My top 3 factors to prevent the zone from occurring. Muscle tightness, anger, accelerated heart rate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 7:53pm
I think this is just overkill for amateur players, just enjoy the game! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/28/2019 at 11:36pm
A lot of the 'zone" in a drill or in practice is an illusion.  Its real when it happens in a match that matters.  And it is very very rare. Maybe once or twice in my life where it lasted the whole match.

You can't count on it.  You're better off learning how to not beat yourself.

So I recommend Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert.  It will take you farther than the zen stuff.



Edited by Baal - 07/28/2019 at 11:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slowhand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/29/2019 at 12:22am
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

A lot of the 'zone" in a drill or in practice is an illusion.  Its real when it happens in a match that matters.  And it is very very rare. Maybe once or twice in my life where it lasted the whole match.

You can't count on it.  You're better off learning how to not beat yourself.

So I recommend Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert.  It will take you farther than the zen stuff.
That's a good book. The zen stuff works, too, if you don't expect miracles like runs of great play that happen once or twice in your life. For me the zen stuff is just a couple of ways to maintain relaxed focus. If you can do that you're much less likely to beat yourself and much more likely to play your best.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/29/2019 at 1:57am
I enjoy that concept of "zone" a lot the same way I do not like to separate strokes as separate pieces when they all depend of what happened earlier; that leads to a better big picture that immediately show the best option available. 
Happiness is the first factor, it will take over any other. I mean the real satisfaction to be at the right place at the right time and there is nothing we'd like to do but playing that match. Being our own independent observer is the 2nd most important, "the inner game of tennis" has a lot to share about that but the technique applies to anything we do in life: is what I am doing now on par with what I think I should do according to the plan if any? Having a plan is the 3rd most important factor: when we know the plan is right given our opponent, capabilities and skills, the mind is more relaxed and information from the eyes to the brain to the spine to the muscles travels faster with less pollution, it's highway 101 v. paris-dakar, and frustration is not coming to the party. Do I do a good job sticking to that plan? we're back at #2. Respecting the opponent is the last factor, of course we could place it in #1 position but it would be fake ass coaching, we want to win first, but it's still a major factor because it helps thinking less about ourselves and our fears not to perform, it helps giving our best to raise our opponent's game so we can both get better and rise, me winning is just a side effect of giving my best to them because they deserve it. I understand this last factor is zen shit that annoys many people but it's not, it's basic ego self control and constantly renewed social skill applied to life.

edit before even posting: OK I agree, "social skill applied to life" sounds f**king stupid but I leave it there anyway for time stretching purposes and because I always think I am some kind of a ping pong genius regularly coming up with transcendental awareness for the people LOL. Realize that I am in good company so don't shoot at me too hard ok?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stavros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/05/2019 at 9:52am
The Inner Game Of Tennis by Gallwey Timothy.

Great book. No way to get into the zone whenever you want, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/05/2019 at 11:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bars Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/06/2019 at 2:06am
practice alot
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