The experience of flow is still one of the least understood phenomena in sport. And yet it is one of the richest, most memorable experiences an athlete will ever know.
Some call it a natural high. Others refer to it as being in a zone. Whatever it's called, flow is an elusive and very sought-after psychological state that athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists have tried to understand, harness, and employ to their benefit since Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first coined the term back in the early 1970s.
Now, in the first book devoted exclusively to flow in sports, the pioneering legend Csikszentmihalyi and sport psychology researcher Susan Jackson attempt not only to explain the phenomenon but also to identify the key conditions associated with its occurrence.
The book begins with a description of what flow is and is not. Flow is defined as a person's total absorption into an activity. While it is always a peak, satisfying experience, it is not necessarily associated with peak performance on every occasion.
Most of the book delves deeply into the key factors leading up to and accompanying the flow experience. The authors also recommend certain actions on the part of the athlete or coach to optimize the conditions in training and performance that allow flow to occur. The book is full of vivid examples, captivating quotes, and revealing research findings that enhance the authors' clear and insightful text.
The sport setting is rife with opportunities to experience flow-be it in pick-up games or the Olympics. But until now, flow has been an infrequent, accidental, and even mysterious phenomenon to most athletes. With Flow in Sports, this optimal experience becomes both more familiar and more achievable. Get to know flow, and get into it. Find out what you've been missing.
Part I: Understanding Flow
Chapter 1. Being In Flow
Chapter 2. Flow FundaMentals
Part II: Experiencing Flow
Chapter 3. Finding Your Challenge-Skills Balance
Chapter 4. Transcending Normal Awareness
Chapter 5. Knowing Where You're Going
Chapter 6. Taking Advantage of Feedback
Chapter 7. Focusing on the Present
Chapter 8. Controlling the Controllables
Chapter 9. Focusing on Fun
For many years, I've admired Dr. Csikszentmihalyi's pioneering work and tried to apply his concepts on the football field. Some people have labeled my approach as 'intense,' but the more accurate term might be 'in flow.' Being totally absorbed in the task at hand is essential to becoming a sports champion. Flow in Sports tells you how to get into that positive, winning mindset.
Head Coach and General Manager, Miami Dolphins
Head Coach, Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys (1992 and 1993)
Head Coach, NCAA National Champion University of Miami (1987)
Flow in Sports is a fascinating read. Finally, someone has put into print what I always strive for when I work out and compete. For athletes who are looking for a book that shows how to maximize their sense of enjoyment and unleash their true potential, this is a goldmine of information.
1996 Olympic Decathlon Champion