Trigger #4 for getting in the Zone when you swing a golf club.
Challenge to Skill Ratio.
The key to this Trigger is getting the right balance for each shot.
Every shot you hit... has a level of challenge based on your skill level.
If the level of challenge is too high relative to your skill level... your level of trust goes down and your level of fear goes up.
In other words... if the shot is too difficult you are going to feel pressure.
If the level of challenge is too low relative to your skill level... Your level of engagement will go down and your focus can wander.
In other words... If the shot is too easy you may get mentally sloppy.
How do you use this knowledge to hit better shots more often?
Whenever possible make sure you are picking shots that are close to your optimum balance.
You can also tune your target for each shot to make it harder or easier... Depending on what matches your optimum balance better.
Think of shot choices like the Three Bears kids story.
Just right means just enough challenge to keep you focused but not so much that you start feeling pressure or fear.
Since this is golf there will be some shots that are very difficult and you don't have a choice.
Your best option in these situations... is to make sure to use the first three Zone triggers, accept that you are faced with a big challenge and view the shot as an opportunity to learn about your ability to overcome challenges.
Even the best players in the world don't always overcome big challenges the first time.
Interestingly... research tells us that there is an optimum window for the challenge to skill ratio:
If your peak skill level is 100%.
The ideal challenge is 105 to 110%.
When the challenge is just a bit tougher than your skill level it heightens the intensity of your full sensory engagement in the task and heightens your focus on identifying and staying locked into your clear goal.
Even with this research proven ratio it's still important to keep your own personal performance patterns in mind.
In my experience many golfers perform better when the task is a little bit too easy.
For them the stronger the sense of trust the better they perform.
Remember... Getting in the Zone is an awesome experience.
But no one can get in the Zone all the time.
So make sure if you're not in the Zone you are focused on what will give you more good shots more often.
Tomorrow we're going to explore one of my favorite Zone triggers.
Make sure to check back!