‘Flow’ is a state of mind, achieved when athletes feel completely engaged in their performance, lose their perception of time, concentrate on the moment, and perform at extremely high levels. It is often defined as an optimal state of consciousness, where your feelings and performance are at their best. This heightened attention allows your actions to happen with ease and can therefore have many benefits. This mental state of ‘flow’ is usually described as ‘being in the zone’. For example, Mo Farah said “When I run, I just go out there, go in the zone and just block everything”.

Strategies and factors that help facilitate the state of flow:

  • Having clear goals about what you want to achieve as well as the process of achieving those goals.
  • Concentration and focus on the present moment.
  • Participate in intrinsically rewarding activities, those ones you enjoy doing.
  • Know that your skills align with your goals.
  • Optimise your body and mind energy states prior to your performance.
  • Have the right level of challenge – you are more likely to experience flow when you have the skills but feel challenged too.
  • Trusting yourself – you earn the ability to trust yourself by doing hard things over a long period of time.
  • Develop an accurate appraisal of your skills – for this you need a growth mindset in order to improve, seek out and value feedback.

What you might experience when in flow state:

  • Feeling of being in control.
  • Enjoyment of performing.
  • A rewarding feeling.
  • Feeling at peace and have no self- consciousness.
  • Critical thoughts disappear.
  • Fell positive and strongly that you can achieve anything.
  • A lack of awareness of your physical needs – movements become automatic and effortless.
  • Distorted sense of time.
  • Have clear goals in mind that are challenging and attainable.

The state of ‘flow’ occurs in 5 stages:  

Essentially these are the moments in sport that we as athletes, coaches, and consultants are all striving to accomplish for optimal performance.

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