Monday, September 24, 2012

Learning "The Zone" in Calgary

Bob starting off the clinic at Tri It in Calgary.

This past Sunday, 11 people attended SportExcel's High Performance Clinic in Calgary.  Triathletes and pistol shooters.

Yes, you read that right!

I teamed up with a woman for one of the exercises Bob had us undertake and learned she had nearly made it to the Olympics this year!  She is now prepping for qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  How cool is that?

Bob laid out a six step system that you can use to get yourself into the zone.

The Zone.

You know that place?  Everyone has heard of it, talked about it, maybe even experienced it.  My ears perked up when I heard Bob say, "At the end of the morning, you will all know how to get into the Zone at will."

Another thing Bob stressed was that there was NO PSYCHOLOGY involved.  We literally dove right in and began a number of exercises that taught us what our own individual cues were for being in the Zone and when we are in the NO Zone.

Bob would select a volunteer from the attendees and demonstrate each exercise.  It was amazing to see the physiological transformation of each athlete as he would guide him/her through each exercise.  You could literally see a person's posture and demeanour change.  And the coolest thing of all was how Bob demonstrated time and time again with each of us, how much physically STRONGER we were when we were in the Zone.

Again, yes, you read that right.

When you are in the Zone you are actually stronger than when you are not.  All the training that an athlete goes through can be wasted if you are thinking of past failures.  Bob utilized a simple technique to demonstrate this point:  the athlete would hold out his/her arm and he would attempt to force it up.

When the athlete was in the Zone, the difference was tangible -- not only was his/her body language exuding confidence but there was no way you could budge his/her arm.

This was a mind-blowing moment for me.  (One of many I had at that clinic!)

In rapt attention listening to Bob!

During one of the exercises, a woman I paired up with tried to move my arm once I was in the Zone, and it felt like her fingertips were barely pressing on my arm.  Seriously!!  I was so amazed, my eyes flew open and I asked her, "Were you REALLY trying to move it? REALLY?  I mean, really trying, because I felt like you were barely touching me!"

Yup, it was that big a deal!

MRT triathlete Tessa P. pairs up with Peter (pistol shooter) during an exercise.

Everyone has heard the expressions like "mind over matter," etc. but this particular exercise really drove the point home.  Simply by being in the Zone, you can tap into strength you didn't even know you had.  So awesome. 

Kendall is most definitely in the Zone.  Lisa is getting coffee.  ;)

We also learned how other people can affect us.  How important it is for a coach to be in the Zone as well as the athlete.  Bob taught us strategies to remain in the Zone and even how to help a teammate get back into his/her Zone.  Powerful stuff.

If there is an event where triathletes are involved, you can be sure there is food!

Bob fielded questions throughout the day, answering questions about how the Zone can be applied to your life outside of athletics:  your kids, your family, your work.  How one person being in the Zone can effect positive change in others.

Lunch time and gourmet sandwiches!
During the afternoon portion of the clinic, Bob told us we would be visited by a "special guest."  An athlete he has worked with...Canadian Olympian Jessica Zelinka.  For those of you who might not know about Jessica, her sport is the heptathlon.  And the 100m hurdles.  Two sports!

As part of her heptathlon training, Jessica competes in separate events that make up the heptathlon, like the 100m hurdles.  Here is the amazing thing:  During her training for the London Olympic games, she actually beat out other competitors at the 100m hurdles and qualified for that event too!!  On tired legs.  

Jessica Zelinka and MRT triathletes!  From left to right: Elissa, Lisa, Kendall, JESSICA!, Lorraine, Tessa, Cheryl, Julie (me)

Jessica talked a bit about her sport and the different strategies she uses to stay in the Zone while training and competing.  She had a super high energy level and an infectious smile.  When she demonstrated how she jumps to stay focused, I know I wasn't the only one marveling at how high she flew up!  

And her pipes!  Holy smokes, she is strong!

I am thrilled to have participated in this clinic -- and so excited to implement the strategies Bob taught us.  What an afternoon!

If you (like me) have ever bought books about positive thinking, making your dreams a reality, etc -- this clinic will blow those books out of the water.  This clinic was the real deal -- I learned how to get into the Zone instantly and how to get rid of the negative clutter of bad memories of poor performances just as quickly. 

Bob will be hosting one more clinic on October 20, in Victoria, BC.  You can register here:  Triathlete, pistol shooter, whoever you are -- you need to do this clinic! 

Thanks to Bob and Caron for flying out to do this clinic, and thanks goes out to Tri It who graciously allowed us to use their store as the venue!

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