Flow in Athletes: A Study of How Often Athletes Experience Flow During Competition and Practice
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Flow is the psychological state of being “in the zone” and can be characterized into nine dimensions: challenge-skill balance, merging of action awareness, clear goals, immediate feedback, concentration, sense of control, loss of self-awareness, time transformation, and an autotelic experience (Csikzentmihalyi, 1990). Athletes frequently experience this state during times of peak performance but they experience it differently in practices and in competitions. Certain dimensions of flow are more typically experienced than others, for example, Chavez (2008) found that 94% of athletes feel their actions are automatic while they experience peak performance, but not as many recognize their goals or feedback. To maximize the flow experience, athletes typically need to have some level of a growth mindset and a competitive spirit, which can be understood through task and ego-oriented goals (Stein et al., 1995), which are also an aspect of achieving flow.
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