THE QATSPY® Inside the Leather Sports Performance Page
By: Charles W. Boatright
Sports Psychology NSA Part No. 3 Projection- Playing Out of Your Mind, Your Conscious Mind, Platform for the Athlete to Play In-The-Zone
Projection is the ability to focus on an objective, the WHAT, and anticipate future results. Artists, like Rembrandt, possessed this ability to project what they wanted to paint onto a canvas. This is similar to a photographer using similar techniques by using their experience and being able to comprehend existing light and conditions to project and capture the image they want.
The invention of the camera and film and now the digital camera has changed how we see our world forever. We not only see it how it is, but we now see through the influence of the lenses of the camera what we would like to create. Professional photographers know what they want to capture in their photographs. They use their experience to know how to use the camera’s various features, such as focus length, aperture, and filters to achieve their spectacular results that we see.
Projection in Sports
A baseball pitcher must be able to project, as well, the pitch into an imaginary strike zone. This was done by the great pitchers, like Tom Glavine or John Smoltz who are considered Rembrandts, because they can paint the corners of the strike zone.
Just like great pitchers, great batters can anticipate what pitch the pitcher will throw and can actually use their subconscious mind to virtually slow down the pitch and see not only the stitching but how the baseball is rotating. Wade Boggs, in an interview with Tom Jones at the St. Petersburg Times, described how he knew the strike zone better than the umpire did. This is why he is 33 in Highest Career Batting Average at 0.3279. The leader in Highest Career Batting Averages is Ty Cobb at 0.3662.
From first to 33rd, you’re talking about four thousandths between the top career batting average and that of Wade Boggs.
How to Develop Projection
I keep going back to Driving Hypnoses, because of how Driving Hypnoses is excellent for developing Situational Awareness, based on the three conditions of Driving Hypnoses. We covered the first two conditions of Driving Hypnoses in three previous articles that I have posted below:
- Normal and routine tasks and conditions must exist (Perception).
- Rely on a high degree of relaxation, confidence, and muscle memory (Comprehension).
- The conscious and subconscious minds are focused on two different situations (Projection).
The third condition above for an athlete to develop Driving Hypnoses, or performing In-The-Zone, is that one needs to have the ability to separate their conscious mind’s focus from their subconscious mind’s focus, or being detached. This is why I sub entitled this article- Playing Out of Your Mind! Or for a better description, Playing Out of Your Conscious mind.
The athlete, like in the driver’s case while driving a vehicle, relies on years of experience that develops natural instincts that allows them to focus on the WHAT, their destination, and not on the HOW. If you have driven a vehicle for a number of years, you have acquired confidence in your skills, allowing your subconscious mind to focus on HOW to drive, based on muscle memory.
If you want to disrupt this instinctive process, just start thinking about your driving tasks and your whole routine is thrown into chaos. I’m not referring to what we as pilots does during their pre-flight routine, where we check out our aircraft, but I referring to the driver actually driving.
The Final Stage of Driving Hypnoses, Or Performing In-The-Zone
For the final stage for Driving Hypnoses to occur, refer to the first and second conditions that led up to the athlete performing In-The-Zone. The conscious mind is relaxed and has complete confidence in the athlete’s abilities and their routine under actual conditions. This allows the athlete’s conscious mind to be able to project forward in time and focus on their objective and get out of their own way.
Perfect example of Projection is the place-kicker on the gridiron or the basketball player at the Free Throw Line. In each case, the player is just focused on the goal. They aren’t concerned about their mechanics or techniques that they will use. Consciously focusing on the goalpost or the rim of basket decouples the athlete’s conscious mind from their subconscious mind. The athlete’s performance must be instinctive in order to be effective on the field or court. IMPORTANT- If your mechanics and techniques aren’t instinctive during practice, the athlete won’t have these mechanics and techniques available to them to use on the field or court.
If you’ve ever wondered why the coach constantly stresses and instructs their players to just focus on their objective and trust your training, this is WHY. It allows the conscious mind to get out of the way of the athlete’s instinctive training. I stress instinctive because your performance has to be natural.
Take another example, the pitcher on the mound who starts thinking about control. Guess what happens next. They actually start to lose their control. To help the pitcher, the pitching coach will take a trip out to the mound to remind the pitcher to just focus NOT just on the strike zone, but what quadrant in the strike zone they want their pitch to go into. This allows the pitcher’s mind to be preoccupied and keep out of the athlete’s performance.
The best philosophy to use for performing In-The-Zone is from a comedy, Caddyshack, or Be the Ball Quote:
Ty Webb- played by Chevy Chase mentioned to Danny Noonan- played by Michael O’Keefe I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.
Breaking Down Be the Ball Quote:
The force– Is the athlete’s subconscious mind
Get in Touch with it– Be relaxed and have confidence.
Stop Thinking– Ability to focus the conscious mind on a narrow target.
Let Thing Happen– Trust one’s training.
Be the Ball– One’s ability to Project oneself in time to the objective.
Driving Hypnoses includes all these conditions for an athlete to perform In-The-Zone. The driver, for instance, is able to drive on a familiar route or scenic highway under normal conditions. The driver is so relaxed and confident that their conscious mind is able to focus on something other than driving.
The driver’s subconscious mind takes over all driving tasks, for short periods of time (4-to-5 minutes), so much that the driver doesn’t even remember driving past certain landmarks or stretches of the highway. The driver, however, is able to negotiate the highway and traffic without incident.
While Driving Hypnoses is unsafe for driving a vehicle down the highway, it works great for driving a golf ball down the fairway, for example.
The athlete, developing a routine under field conditions, can develop instincts and muscle memory that becomes automatic on the field or court. The trigger point for the athlete is the ability to focus on their objective, the WHAT. The subconscious mind will naturally supply the instinctive skills needed to accomplish the objective. I can’t think of a better format to develop simple sports performance psychology than Driving Hypnoses, based on the premise of Situational Awareness.
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