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Sports Psychology Tips: 36 Ways To Perform Your Best

Posted by: Dr. Granat on March 5, 2019

How To Win Your Next Competition: 36 Tips To Help Your Perform Your Best

If you’re a sales person, a manager, an entrepreneur, a trial lawyer, a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, you frequently need an edge to perform to your fullest potential.

If you know how to get into the zone and stay there, you definitely will have the edge or advantage you need to win, beat your competition and perform to you fullest potential.

What Is The Zone?

In short, the zone is a state of relaxed concentration where there is no self-criticism. You are confident, relaxed, focused and living in the present. Furthermore, there is a sense of enjoyment, your actions seem automatic and easy and there is an increased belief that your dreams can become realities.

It is interesting to note that the zone parallels and matches a hypnotic state of mind.

Thirty Six Tools You Need To Use Effectively To Stay In The Zone

The author has worked with thousands of world class athletes, young athletes and weekend warriors.   He has evaluated and helped Olympic champions.

Below you will find a   simple questionnaire and rating system that can athletes, coaches and parents of athletes to understand the elements which comprise the zone. Readers of this article will also understand what the common barriers are to getting into the zone.

Here are the questions.

Simply rate yourself from 1-10 on each of the questions.

You can use ratings from zero to ten and you can use decimal points.   Ten is the highest rating you can get a zero is the lowest rating.

  1. How confident do you feel?
  2. How relaxed do you feel?
  3. How focused do you feel?
  4. How well have you been practicing?
  5. How resilient do you feel?
  6. How well do you sleep the night before a competition?
  7. Are your eating, sleeping and exercising patterns in balance with one another?
  8. How much fun do you have when you compete?
  9. Can you quiet self -criticism?
  10. Do you engage in positive self-talk?
  11. Are you able to tune out distractions?
  12. Are you able to stay in the present?
  13. Do you have pre-shot routines that you consistently use?
  14. Do you ask yourself what you have learned and enjoyed from every performance?
  15. Do you have a “Plan B,” if your “A Game” is not working?
  16. Can you empty your mind and trust your athletic body?
  17. Can you quiet your mind to focus on just one thing?
  18. Are you injury free?
  19. Are you able to control any interpersonal problems or stressors?
  20. Do you use a simple mantra, phrase or tune to reset your mind and your   body during, before and after you competition?
  21. Do you know how to recover from a loss, setback or slump?
  22. For young athletes-How is your relationship with your parents?
  23. Have you seen yourself on video in the last ninety days?
  24. Are you grateful for your opportunity to master a sport or a skill?
  25. Do you have a technique to move from choking to the zone?
  26. Are you having fun competing and practicing?
  27. Do you spend the bulk of your practice time working on the weakest parts of your game?
  28. Every sport has an ideal tempo or rhythm. Do you know what it is for you and for your sport?
  29. Do you have a medallion, piece of jewelry, bracelet, special socks or lucky charm you carry with you when you compete?
  30. Do you know how to recover from a loss to a player or team you should beat?
  31. Do you set short and long term measurable goals and objectives?
  32. If you are a religious or spiritual person, do you use prayer as part of your training and as part of your pre-game routine?
  33. How well do you manage the highs and lows that are a part of any challenge?
  34. How is your relationship with your coaches, teammates and colleagues?
  35. Every athlete gets and angry or frustrated at times. Do you have have a technique for managing or using these feelings?
  36. Do you practice meditation, mindfulness mediation, visualization, guided imagery prior to competing and prior to practicing?


“Ideally, I like to see athletes with scores of 8.5 on most of the above. Being eighty five per cent ready, is usually enough to produce fine performances.   So, a perfect score on this test is about 306. (8.5 x 36=306). If you get this score, there is a good chance that you are in a mental frame of mind that will allow you to perform well.

If you discover weaknesses that are causing you to lose matches and tournaments, you need to develop strategies and techniques to overcome these deficiencies.

It is hard to make these kinds of changes on your own. A sport psychologist, coach or mentor can often be quite helpful in building confidence, reducing anxiety, improving focus and in showing you how to enter the zone more often.

If your scores are very low, you can probably benefit from some counseling, mental toughness training or training in self-hypnosis.

About The Author

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor. The founder of, Dr. Granat has coached athletes from virtually every sport from around the world. His clients have included Olympic Gold Medalists, professional golfers, Division I athletes, tennis pros and elite young competitors and national champions.

A former university professor, Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for five newspapers and has appeared in many major media outlets including: Good Morning America, The New York Times,  The International Herald Tribune, The BBC, The CBC, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Sporting News, ESPN, Tennis Magazine, Tennis View Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Newark Star Ledger, The Bergen Record,  The Iowa Golfer and The Executive Golfer,

Golf Digest named him one of America’s top ten mental gurus.

Granat earned his Masters and Ph.D. in Counseling from The University of Michigan. He is the author of How To Get In The Zone And Stay In The Zone With Sport Psychology and Self Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score, Zone Tennis, 101 Ways To Break A Hitting Slump, How To Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute, How To Have A Killer Serve, How To Throw More Strikes and Bedtime Stories For Young Athletes.

Granat is particularly interested in the role that family relationships play in

stress and in how they impact one’s ability to perform their best when under pressure. He is past Vice President of The New York Society For Ericksonian Psychotherapy And Hypnosis.   He is a member of The American Counseling Association and The American Psychological Association.

Dr. Granat is available for public speaking, consulting and counseling.

He can be reached at or at 201 647-9191.




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