Flow State: In the zone for optimal sports performance!June 13, 2014
For basketball fans and sports enthusiasts this is a great time of year. March Madness is upon us. In tournaments such as this, when the outcome of a single game determines who plays on and who goes home, a single player hitting their peak can make all the difference. When an athlete can seem to do no wrong in their play, they are often referred to as being “on fire” or being in “the zone”. The technical term for this state is known as flow.
Flow or the zone is a mental state where an athlete is completely focused in the present moment. As a coach, you want your athletes to be in the state of flow because they are completely focused on the task at hand. For the athlete everything seems to be easy and time ceases to exist.
What does it feels like to be in the state of flow?
- Focused on the task you are trying to achieve – You have the ability to control and focus without any distractions. Once you get distracted and not focused or in control anymore, you are no longer in the state of flow.
- Keeping everything simple and not over analyzing or over thinking.
- There is a balance between the challenge and your skills – You feel engaged but not overwhelmed.
- There is no fear of failure – In the state of flow you do not even think about failure since you are concentrating on what you are doing and everything seems to be clicking.
Though state of flow cannot be attained at will, an athlete can train and improve on their skills so that when they experience this state they can fully immerse in the moment. An athlete in the state of flow does not lack intensity, have self-doubt or low confidence. They do not fear failure, intimidation or expectations. They have a set goal and a focus that makes being in the zone seem as if they are super human.
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