There are three yous in Zen. I like to call them “Memory,” “Delta,” and “Fantasy.”
Memory is what got you where you are.
Delta is the you right now, and the only version of you that is capable of change.
Fantasy is the you that has to live with whatever Delta does, in the same way that Delta has to live with whatever Memory does.
I had a friend that explained to me that they did bad at a competition because they were distracted by a spectator yelling at them during a match. They were frustrated because this was a match with someone that they had previously beaten, but the person in the crowd yelling pulled them off their game.
One of the things that happens when you get into the Zen mindset during competition, is that you ‘get in the zone.’ Things become effortless, and the amount of mental energy that it takes to do what needs to be done is less than normal. The reason behind this is that Delta is letting go of the wheel and letting Memory take over. Some people call it ‘Muscle Memory’ and others call it ‘Procedural Memory’ or even ‘State Dependent Memory.’
Nevertheless, it all amounts to the same thing. You are removing your present mind from the action and letting your training make the actions for you. If you have trained properly, Memory will make decisions much faster than Delta ever can, and in these situations, the only thing that Delta can do is slow Memory down.
Here is the thing. Getting to a Zen mindset in your game isn’t necessarily about clearing the mind, or getting better concentration. It is about getting Delta to let Memory take control. This is particularly difficult when Delta is giving the circumstance full attention, and isn’t able to relax and trust that Memory has the ability to do the job.
In this situation in particular, the only thing that Delta can contribute is to distract Memory, or otherwise pull Memory off task. Delta’s true job in this situation is to protect Memory so that Memory can do the job.