Trigger #2 Challenge vs Skill Ratio
This Zone Trigger is all about your ability to Focus clearly and strongly on the task you want to perform.
Finding the OPTIMUM BALANCE POINT between boredom and fear is one of the key elements to achieving clear and strong positive focus.
When the challenge level of a task is not strong enough relative to your level of skill… it can be difficult to Focus clearly and strongly.
You do not fully engage your Focus on the task because you feel you can be successful easily without using all your energy and attention.
Essentially… the task is too easy so you get bored.
On the other end of the scale if the challenge level is too high… then you become fearful that you cannot succeed in overcoming the challenge of the task.
If the challenge is really intense you may even experience the fight/flight/freeze response.
Essentially the task is too difficult so you panic.
The Challenge to Skill Ratio Trigger is all about finding YOUR optimum balance point between the two extremes.
In order to access the Zone (or get close to the Zone) finding the optimum level of challenge relative to your skill… is critical if you want to achieve strong and clear Focus and perform your best.
Interestingly there is a specific Challenge to Skill Ratio for getting in the Zone.
Challenge 110% of Skill Level
What does that mean?
It means… when the Challenge is 10% higher than your perceived Skill level is when you have the best chance to access the Zone.
Higher Challenge level drives stronger Focus and being more fully engaged/immersed in what you are doing.
How does this relate to golf?
Here's an example:
Have you ever stood on the tee and there was a wide open fairway with no out of bounds, no water and no trees… yet you still managed to get yourself in trouble with your tee shot.
A high percentage of the time this is a result of the shot not being challenging enough to get you to Focus clearly and strongly on what you wanted to do with that shot.
If there is no noticeable challenge to the shot it is very easy to get sloppy/lazy with your Focus.
Obviously, this could also be just a result of a bad swing. This is golf after all. :-)
The key to remember is just to begin to recognize how Challenge v Skill affects YOUR Focus.
On the other end of the spectrum… have you ever had a shot where you absolutely needed it to thread a shot in between two trees?
Where you had to hit a specific shape shot or you would have gotten in all kinds of trouble.
Even though it was seemingly a much more difficult shot… you were able to execute it on command.
In this instance the shot itself forced you to Focus clearly and strongly on exactly what you wanted to do.
it may have been at or even a little past your skill level.
But because you were forced to Focus clearly and so strongly you were able to execute the shot.
Better Focus leads to better shots.
Knowing where you are on the Challenge/Skill spectrum helps you adjust your shot selection and routine to access optimum focus for every shot.
If the shot you are attempting is too difficult… your fear/anxiety of your lack of skill to execute the shot will inhibit your ability to focus.
You will probably need to choose a less stressful target for your shot.
If the shot you are attempting is to easy… you may get sloppy/lazy with your preparation for that shot because your mind is wandering.
You can make the shot more challenging by picking a smaller/more precise target.
The Big Picture is that you want clear and strong positive Focus for every shot.
Knowing where the shot fits on your Challenge/Skill scale can help you achieve that Focus and get in the Zone more often.