While describing the technique of archery in Eugen Herrigel's classic Zen and the Art of Archery, the Zen master states:
“The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede.”
This is the best way to achieve your goal—a dissociated state of awareness.
Winning is secondary. What matters is whether you are aware of your goal and how you are going to achieve it.
Ask any psychologist and he will tell you that the mind is a strange machine.
It records everything that ever happened in your life and stores all the images for posterity.
And this storehouse provides the sportsperson mental strength and a positive frame of mind.
To play well, you must visualize all the positive games you have played before the big day.
This conditions the reflexes to react accordingly. Imagery allows the player to practice and prepare for events and eventualities he can never expect to train for in reality.
Too often these individuals have thrived despite of the system or relied on a chance encounter with an exceptional coach.
We can no longer rely on chance and goodwill. We need to learn the lessons of our competitor nations and have the most professional system for talent development and support of excellence.
It is virtually impossible to give tips on the state of sporting nirvana, as it were.
But the definition that probably comes closest can be found in these words of Herrigel’s Zen master:
“You can learn from an ordinary bamboo leaf what ought to happen. It bends lower and lower under the weight of snow. Suddenly the snow slips to the ground without the leaf having stirred... So, indeed, it is: when the tension is fulfilled, the shot must fall, it must fall from the archer like snow from a bamboo leaf, before he even thinks of it.”