Monday, May 05, 2008

Missing the flow

An excerpt taken from, "Flow in Sports" by Susan Jackson:

Many coaches and athletes believe that the only goal worth striving for is winning. There is no question that competition is at the essence of sports. The reason goals are so clean in sports is that the objective is to run the fastest race, score the most goals, jump the highest, throw the javelin or discus farthest. Everyone can see and evaluate the performance. Victory is the crowning moment of a dramatic performance that has been full of unpredictability and tension. The winner is elated, and the spectators vicariously share in the resolution of the staged conflict. Without competition it would be easy to lose concentration, to become distracted or uninvolved - to all out of flow.

On the other hand, if the only goal of the athlete is to win, flow is also endangered. If your attention is focused exclusively on winning, you cannot pay attention to what is happening at the moment. (Amen!) You don't notice the speed of your stride, the rate of your breathing, or what your opponents are doing. You become anxious, and in the effort to achieve the only reward that counts for you - victory - you miss the opportunity to enjoy the rewards that come from a move well executed or a play well made, or simply feeling the doing its best in a difficult situation."

What a good perspective.

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