The concept of "being in the zone" during an athletic performance fits within Csikszentmihalyi's description of the Flow experience, and theories and applications of "being in the zone" and its relationship with athletic competitive advantage are topics studied in the field of sport psychology. Musicians, especially improvisational soloists can experience a similar state of mind while playing their instrument.
Palmer suggests that "being in the zone" may also influence movement patterns as better integration of the conscious and subconscious reflex functions improves coordination. Many athletes describe the effortless nature of their performance whilst achieving personal bests - see references.
The legendary soccer player Pelé described his experience of being in the zone: "I felt a strange calmness.. . a kind of euphoria. I felt I could run all day without tiring, that I could dribble through any of their team or all of them, that I could almost pass through them physically."
Another example was given by Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna, who during qualifying for the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix felt like driving the car beyond his limits. "I was already on pole, [...] and I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel. Not only the tunnel under the hotel but the whole circuit was a tunnel. I was just going and going, more and more and more and more. I was way over the limit but still able to find even more."
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