Flow States and Sport Performance Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Flow States and Sport Performance

The attention of an individual focus on the movements of the body, power of the muscles, force of the lungs, and the strength beneath the feet in the context of running a race,. This is an indication that an individual is living in the moment utterly absorbed in the present activity. It is essential to note that time seems to fall away. According to the description by the positive psychologists, the encounter or experience during the running process is known as the flow. It is vital to note that the flow refers to the state of complete immersion in an activity. The mental state of the flow relates to the ability of an individual to be involved in the activity for its own sake.

Understanding the Psychology of the Flow

It is ideal to note that people experience diverse or different flow states. Some might have the ability to experience the flow while engaging in skiing, playing soccer, tennis, dancing, and running. In other cases, individuals experience flow in relation to activities such as drawing, writing, and painting (Stavrou et al., 2007). Various factors affect the state of flow in an individual. Some of these factors include clear goals, concentration, and intrinsically rewarding activity, feelings of serenity, timelessness, immediate feedback, and lack of awareness of the physical needs. Frequently, elite athletes report that a mental state known as the flow is crucial in relation to their successful athletic performance. Some of the components of the flow include challenge, skill balance, action, awareness, and unambiguous feedback. Most sport psychologists focus on the utilization of diverse methods and techniques with the aim of enhancing the ability of the players in reaching flow and athletic performance.

According to Csikszentmihalyi (1990), flow refers to the optimal balance between skill and demand. One of the benefits of experiencing the flow is the concept of sheer enjoyment. This translates to the increase in the level of confidence and love for participation in the sporting activity. It is ideal to note that a runner would have increased level of confidence during the race day if he or she has the ability to realize flow and objectives in practice. Flow is one of the complex concepts in relation to psychology of sport. It is critical to understand the concept of flow through evaluation of sub-scales as evident in the case of Jackson & Marsh (1996).

One of the sub-scales of the state of flow is the concept of action-awareness emerging. In this case, an individual is deeply involved in the task that action in automatic manner. The second sub-scale is clear goal. This relates to the concept of unambiguous objectives offering clear idea on what needs to be accomplished. Another element for understanding the state of flow is unambiguous feedback essential for the provision of clear an immediate feedback during the action. There is need to experience high level of concentration on the task at hand with the aim of achieving objectives and targets in the sporting activity. Other sub-scales of the state of flow include challenge-skill balance, autotelic experience, transformation of time, sense of control, and loss of self-consciousness (Jackson & Marsh, 1996).

Some of the techniques essential in the achievement of flow include goal-setting, imagery, relaxation, and self-talk (Quinn, 2005). These techniques are simple and effective towards the achievement of the goals and objectives during the sport performance. In the current state, most applied sport psychology, integrate an educational philosophy with the aim of teaching the athletes to incorporate mental skills. Despite the effectiveness and efficiency of this approach, there are adverse effects that might relate to the integration of the techniques. For instance, golfers exposed to the explicit learning strategies will record worse performance in relation to stressful conditions in comparison to golfers who learn skills implicitly (Ferrell et al., 2006).

The main objective or purpose of this study is to determine the effects of hypnosis on the performance and flow states in sporting activities such as athletics, soccer, and badminton as well as tennis. It is ideal to note that hypnosis interventions such as induction, regression, and natural unconscious trigger control techniques have valuable influence in enhancing the performance of the sport personalities. This is an indication that hypnosis is critical in improving the performance of the athlete. Hypnosis is also crucial in enhancing or increasing the state of flow. For instance, regression and trigger control techniques are critical in increasing the intensity of the flow as well as performance of the athletes. Hypnotic training has the ability and capacity to increase personal control over flow and performance of the athletes. In the case of athletes, flow is usually associated with high levels of performance, positive, and enjoyable experience. In this case, everything is optimal as the mind and body are in harmony.

It is also essential to note the absence of self-doubts and negative thinking thus enhanced functioning of the individuals with improved performance levels. It is also crucial to note that the flow known as the optimal performance is often the ultimate end that athletes seek. This is through integration of enhancement techniques of the sport psychologist and coaches in the form of hypnosis to offer valuable means for the realization of the goals and objectives in relation to the sport performance levels.

Flow as a concept was identified in 1975 by Csiszentmihalyi as the mental state of operation in which an individual is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. The characterization of flow entails the feeling of energized focus for the full involvement and success in the process of the activity. In other circumstances, hypnosis is similar to the flow because of the ability to change the way the athletes think, dissociates from the task, and process information.

Hypnosis includes one person as the subject guided by another in the form of hypnotist with the aim of responding to the suggestions for changes in relation to the subjective experience. This is through alteration of the perception, emotion, behavior, sensation, and thought. Hypnosis normally integrates the procedure in which an individual is informed that suggestions for imaginative experiences will be offered. For the hypnosis inducement, the subjects must respond to the hypnotic suggestions (Pain et al., 2011). Despite the simplicity of the concept in the sport psychology, it is ideal to note that hypnotic continues to be a controversial topic for the public in the modern society. For instance, in the interpretation of the concept in a nonprofessional's language, it refers to understanding or knowing what popular culture mediums define hypnosis. The element of negative messages leads to the generation of various misconceptions and misunderstandings in relation to its effectiveness and role as well as weaknesses of hypnosis (Kawabata, 2011). Despite the element of misconceptions in relation to hypnosis, the concept still has a powerful influence as well as wide ranging effectiveness as an adjunctive treatment. It has great influence in enhancing the treatment outcome in clients. The effectiveness of hypnosis has also been influential in relation to the treatment of depression, eating disorders, child sexual abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, pain management, rape, and phobias, and intense fears.

Hypnosis has a long and extensive history in the area of sports psychology. Some of the characteristics of hypnosis in the sports psychology include focus, relaxation, suggestion, and goals (Gruzelier, 2000). Hypnosis has the ability to make major impact in the mental training thus helping athletes to develop correct techniques, willpower, confidence, and concentration of the achievement of maximum performance in by athletes. Hypnosis has critical influence on the state of flow and performance in the sporting activity. Some of the influences include increasing and decreasing strength and endurance, ameliorating pain, enhancing imagery, optimization of anxiety, arousal, and relaxation as well as improvement of concentration and focus to sustain the self-confidence (Cowen, 2004). This is through utilizing age regression and heightened recall to enable athletes in the development of skills as well as evaluation of errors in the sporting techniques.

Focus, concentration, and discipline are some of the key elements or ingredients towards the achievement success in any sporting activity. The psychology of sports faces integration of these ingredients in the achievement of the goals and objectives. Hypnosis is also essential in the achievement of the similar goals and objectives in the psychology-sporting arena (Kluft, 2012). It is ideal to note that each individual has diverse goals and needs thus the need to define and customize the essence of hypnosis sessions in order to fit to the targets and preferences of the athletes with the aim of enhancing their performance.

Elite athletes often focus on the achievement of anything offering the edge over other competitors as well as enhancing their optimum performance. Hypnosis as in the case of imagery has been essential in improving the performance of the athletes (Hasegawa, 2002). Despite being a mystical and magical form of mind control, hypnosis proves to be a legitimate form of treatment because of its effectiveness in developing…

Cite This Essay:

"Flow States And Sport Performance" (2013, August 21) Retrieved August 23, 2017, from

"Flow States And Sport Performance" 21 August 2013. Web.23 August. 2017. <

"Flow States And Sport Performance", 21 August 2013, Accessed.23 August. 2017,