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Psychological States underlying Excellent Performance in Professional Golfers: “Letting it Happen” vs. “Making it Happen”

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Psychological States underlying Excellent Performance in Professional Golfers: “Letting it Happen” vs. “Making it Happen”

Abstract

Objectives: In this study we aimed to better understand the occurrence and experience of flow in elite golf. As flow is more likely to occur during peak performances, and for elite athletes, our objectives were to: (i) identify golfers who achieved exceptional performances (e.g., winning a professional tournament), and (ii) explore if and how they experienced flow within that performance. Design: Mixed-method multiple case study. Method: Participants were 10 professional golfers (M age = 30; SD = 9.9). Performance data and participant observations informed semi-structured interviews which took place as soon as possible after an excellent performance (M = 4 days). Data were interpreted using within-case then cross-case thematic analysis. Results: These golfers reported that they experienced two different psychological states during their excellent performances. These states were described as: (i) "letting it happen" which corresponded with the definition and description of flow; and (ii) "making it happen" which was more effortful and intense, involved a heightened awareness of the situation, and therefore differed to flow. Both states occurred through different processes, and "letting it happen" was a relatively gradual build-up of confidence, whereas "making it happen" was a more sudden stepping-up of concentration and effort. Conclusion: These findings are discussed in relation to existing literature on flow and related optimal psychological states in sport. Recommendations are then made for future research into the experience and occurrence of both states reported in this study.
... Several studies [11][12][13][14] have noted that the flow state is not the only psychological state that is associated with optimal experience during physical exercises. For instance, Swann et al. [11] observed, based on reports from golfers, that there are two distinct kinds of psychological states underlying superior athletic performances, namely "letting it happen" and "making it happen". ...
... Several studies [11][12][13][14] have noted that the flow state is not the only psychological state that is associated with optimal experience during physical exercises. For instance, Swann et al. [11] observed, based on reports from golfers, that there are two distinct kinds of psychological states underlying superior athletic performances, namely "letting it happen" and "making it happen". The former occurs in situations matching the definition of flow state, while the latter was perceived in situations where a performance increment occurs under pressure (i.e., also known as clutch performance) [13,15,16]. ...
... Each item was scored on a five-point Likert scale from "never" (1) to "always" (5). Item 2,4,7,9,11, and 17 were reverse-scored before calculating the scale means (with higher scores reflecting more cognitive flexibility). Cronbach's alpha values of 0.92, 0.80 and 0.87 were verified in the current study for the subscale "alternatives", "control" and the total scale, respectively. ...
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Purpose The integrated model of flow and clutch provides a multistate perspective to the optimal experiences during physical exercises. Based on this model, the Flow-Clutch Scale (FCS) was developed. The current study is the first step to test the psychometric properties of a Chinese version of the FCS (FCS–C). Method A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with Maximum Likelihood estimate was performed in Chinese athletes (N = 426) to explore the structural validity. The Pearson correlations between the subscales of the FCS-C and “non-reactivity to inner experiences”, “cognitive flexibility”, and “self-consciousness” were explored to examine the concurrent validity. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were used to assess the internal consistency of the total scale and subscales. Moreover, the test-retest reliability was examined in the subsample (N = 53) in a two-week interval. Results The results of CFA suggested that the three-factor model showed an acceptable model fit (χ² = 459.40, df = 120, CFI = 0.95, GFI = 0.90, SRMR = 0.03, RMSEA = 0.082 [90% CI = 0.074–0.09]). And concerning the correlations between the factor “characteristics of flow” and “self-consciousness”, the concurrent validity is not satisfactory. Moreover, the test-retest coefficients ranged from 0.75 to 0.78 (p < .01) and Cronbach's alpha ranged from 0.87 to 0.96. Conclusion Results indicated that the three-factor model of FCS-C is acceptable, whereas its validity is not satisfactory to appropriately examine flow and/or clutch states in Chinese athletes. In summary, it shed light on future research on optimal experiences in China.
... One model that provides unique labels to describe two distinct optimal psychological states is the integrated model of flow and clutch states (Swann, 2018(Swann, , 2022. Based on initial research with professional golfers, Swann et al. (2016) found that athletes reported not just one, but two different optimal states that underpinned excellent performance (see Figure 3). ...
... The flow state described within the integrated model of flow and clutch shares similarities with the effortless flow state described by previous researchers (e.g., Csikszentmihalyi & Nakamura, 2010;Jackson & Marsh, 1996). The characteristics and antecedents of both flow and clutch states based on research undertaken on the integrated model proposed by Swann et al. (2016Swann et al. ( , 2018 will now be examined. ...
... Consequently, fluctuations in the antecedents, characteristics, and consequences of flow and clutch may need to be investigated intra-individually. Researchers investigating the integrated model of flow and clutch to date have interviewed participants on a single occasion (e.g., Swann et al., 2016Swann et al., , 2019. Future research would benefit from repeated optimal psychological state interviews that allow for comparisons across performances by the same individual. ...
Thesis
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Adventure recreation participants, such as rock-climbers, skydivers, and free-style skiers have reported that one of the most important reasons for continued participation in adventure recreation is a state of mind focused on the present moment. Most psychologists have referred to this state as flow. More recently, sport and exercise psychology researchers have proposed another optimal state called clutch. However, the majority of optimal psychological states research in adventure recreation contexts has generally made use of flow models that treat optimal psychological states as a singular state. Thus, there is a need to better understand if and how distinct optimal psychological states, such as flow and clutch, function in adventure recreation contexts. This project is an investigation of flow and clutch states with a focus on the adventure recreation context. To understand the antecedents, characteristics, and consequences of flow and clutch states, the following three studies were completed: a systematic review of flow states in adventure recreation (Study One), a mixed method study with advanced rock-climbers in outdoor and indoor settings (Study Two), and a qualitative study with a diverse group of adventure recreation participants (Study Three).
... Several studies (see for example, Swann et al., 2016Swann et al., , 2017) have led to a better understanding of how states of flow emerge and occur. Flow is considered a rare and elusive state (Swann et al., 2015), with most knowledge based on factors simply associated with its occurrence (e.g., optimal environmental conditions) rather than causal mechanisms (Aherne et al., 2011). ...
... Flow is considered a rare and elusive state (Swann et al., 2015), with most knowledge based on factors simply associated with its occurrence (e.g., optimal environmental conditions) rather than causal mechanisms (Aherne et al., 2011). Recent studies have explored the chronology of the onset of flow, suggesting that flow occurs in exploratory contexts involving novelty, discovery, uncertainty, or experimentation (Swann et al., 2016(Swann et al., , 2017. In such contexts, flow emerges as a result of a gradual accumulation of confidence during performance (Swann et al., 2016(Swann et al., , 2017. ...
... Recent studies have explored the chronology of the onset of flow, suggesting that flow occurs in exploratory contexts involving novelty, discovery, uncertainty, or experimentation (Swann et al., 2016(Swann et al., , 2017. In such contexts, flow emerges as a result of a gradual accumulation of confidence during performance (Swann et al., 2016(Swann et al., , 2017. Specifically, a constructive first event, leading to positive feedback increases the performer's confidence. ...
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While studies on the characteristics of flow states and their relation to peak performance exist, little is known about the dynamics by which flow states emerge and develop over time. The current paper qualitatively explores the necessary pre-conditions to enter flow, and the development of flow over time until its termination. Using an elicitation interview, participants (10 athletes and 12 musicians) were asked to recall their flow experiences in sports or music performances. The analysis resulted in the identification of the following three phases that athletes and musicians experience during flow: (1) Preparation to enter flow; (2) Entry into the flow state and; (3) Exit from the flow state. These three phases are characterized by several sub-themes contributing to the experience of flow. The function of emotions is crucial, as they play a core role across all three phases and regulate flow over time. The findings provide insights into the phenomenological characteristics of the transition and maintenance of the three proposed phases and the temporal dynamics of flow.
... Disagreement, however, exists between different authors regarding the equivalence of the nine dimensions. Correspondingly, some authors understand three of the nine dimensions namely challenge-skill balance, clear goals and unambiguous feedback -explained in detail below -to be the premises for flow to occur while the left six dimensions characterise the emerged experience (Swann, Keegan, Crust & Piggott, 2016). 30 Either way, the subsequent 29 These micro-flow experiences seem to share a phenomenology with the so-called zombie behaviour as Koch (2012) elucidates it amongst others in his book Consciousness: Confessions of a romantic reductionist. ...
... paragraphs will characterise flow-experience along this nine-dimensional conceptualisation and treat each of the dimensions equally. Starting with its first dimension -and eventually with one of its premises (Swann et al., 2016) -, flow-experience is thought to be characterised by its challenge-skill balance (Hart & di Blasi, 2015;CsíH kszentmihaH lyi, 1975). This is defined as "the requirement that there [is] a balance between the ability and the demands of the task" (Hart & di Blasi, 2015, p. 276). ...
... The third flow-experience's dimension -and within the ideas of Swann et al. (2016) a second premise for flow-experience to occur -is its need for clear goals (Hart & di Blasi, 2015). This means, that the action's goals -be they set in advance or developed out of involvement in the activity -are clearly defined (ibid.). ...
Thesis
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Master's Thesis by Tomko Settgast, supervised by Mathias Hegele and Dominik Endres: The text at hand investigates the possibilities to capture the so-called flow-experience without the reliance on subjective reports, i.e. it follows the intention to explore reliably and objectively measurable markers. This search especially regards neural correlates of the experience in question that have not been found yet. The text is thereby subsumed under the umbrella of enactivism since it gives similar credit to phenomenology and neuroscience, uses the description of the dynamical system’s theory and bridges the phenomenal and natural scientific aspects of cognition via an ecologically psychological sense-making. The introduction of the neurophenomenological method at the beginning of the text offers the possibility to suggest objective markers of subjective experience based on correlation. A central position within thisobjectification is given to the entropic brain hypothesis, as it is prominently represented by Carhart-Harris (2018). Its claim to connect subjective experience to the brain’s dynamically working mechanism enables its linkage to a dynamical system’s account for cognition. The dynamical attractors that the systems theory suggest for guiding behaviour is thereby easily integrated within the notions of predictive coding (i.a. Kilner, Friston, Frith, 2007; Clark, 2015) that assumes predictions to be the foundation of perception. Under the assumption of enactivism and its notion of a unity of perception and action, one gets the opportunity to translate the dynamical system’s attractors with Gibson’s (1986) idea of affordances. Thus, the brain’s dynamical working mechanism is the reflection of the phenomenal experience of affordances that guide perception and action. Especially, skilled action will be explored as the consequence of simultaneously attracting affordances which allow for the use of different strategies in pursuing a goal. This dynamically metastable attunement to different affordances (Bruineberg & Rietveld, 2014) constitutes exactly the entirety of the introduced dynamical attractors and is reflected in the brain activities’ entropy. This hypothesis is completed with the introduction of the serotonin’s and dopamine’s neuromodulation on these attractor-based affordances where those neuromodulator’s influences in perceptual guidance and behavioural selection as well as execution are emphasised. The exploration of these neurophysiological measurements enables the linkage of subjective and objective markers of flow-experience after a flow-experience’s phenomenal characterisation is given. Therefore, the outlined objective measurements are followed by an introduction of flow-experience within the notion of Csíkszentmihályi (1975). Its phenomenal characterisation and the introduced theories are used to suggest an objective measurement of flow-experience. The text uses the similarity between the flow-experience’sphenomenology and the experience of (musical) improvisation to infer a way to investigate ojectively measurable markers of flow. As it will be revealed later, this is based on the fact that the cognitive neuroscience of improvisation leads to a phenomenological experience that is summarised as the creator-witness phenomenon a fter Berkowitz (2010) what will be made fruitful as a way to investigate the state of flow. Taken together, professional musical improvisation as a specific example of skilled action shows a phenomenal proximity to flow-experience wherefore its underlying neural mechanism isinferred as the underlying mechanism of flow-experience. Hence, an objectively measurable marker of theflow’s state of mind will be explored in the increase of the brain activities’ entropy that reflects an increase in themetastable attunement to different but simultaneously visible affordances.
... Athletes in flow often report 20 reaching the apex of their abilities and levels of fulfilment that are unrivalled in the rest of 21 their lives (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). While research has described the nature of 22 the experience and it's antecedents in sport (Jackson, 1996;Swann et al., 2015), the 23 underlying mechanisms of flow are not well understood. We propose that a deeper 24 consideration of attentional processes may be crucial to this understanding. ...
... The added effect of physical exertion 16 may further enhance the experience of total absorption (Dietrich, 2006). Finding flow is 17 highly desirable, as athletes report effortlessness and fluency of performance when in the 18 state (Swann et al., 2015). As there is reasonable agreement over what characterises a flow 19 experience (Swann et al., 2012) research in sport has mainly focused on its antecedents. ...
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While the experience of flow is often described in attentional terms - focused concentration or task absorption - specific cognitive mechanisms have received limited interest. We propose that an attentional explanation provides the best way to advance theoretical models and produce practical applications, as well as providing potential solutions to core issues such as how an objectively difficult task can be subjectively effortless. Recent research has begun to utilise brain-imaging techniques to investigate neurocognitive changes during flow, which enables attentional mechanisms to be understood in greater detail. Some tensions within flow research are discussed; including the dissociation between psychophysiological and experiential measures, and the equivocal neuroimaging findings supporting prominent accounts of hypofrontality. While flow has received only preliminary investigation from a neuroscientific perspective, findings already provide important insights into the crucial role played by higher order attentional networks, and clear indications of reduced activity in brain regions linked to self-referential processing. The manner in which these processes may benefit sporting performance are discussed.
... Consistent with previous studies [36,38], we found that runners' self-efficacy significantly predicted flow experience. As suggested in recent research, flow experiences were reported more often by those who also reported building-up momentum and confidence in their performance [48]. Self-efficacy was a stronger predictor of how effectively an individual can perform a specific task than either his/her self-confidence or self-esteem [49]. ...
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Previous studies confirmed that leisure sport participation could contribute to people’s life satisfaction. However, little is known about the predictors of life satisfaction in the context of long-distance running. A model was proposed in this study to examine the relationship between recreation specialization, self-efficacy, flow experience, and life satisfaction. An online questionnaire was distributed to long-distance runners in China, and a total of 404 valid questionnaires were obtained for data analysis in this study. Results indicated that recreation specialization and self-efficacy had a direct and positive effect on runners’ flow experience; recreation specialization, self-efficacy, and flow experience were positively associated with runners’ life satisfaction. Furthermore, flow experience partially mediated the relationship between self-efficacy and life satisfaction, while it fully mediated the role of recreation specialization in life satisfaction. The findings shed some new insights for understanding the influence of leisure sport engagement on people’s life satisfaction.
... Clutch states have been postulated as the psychological state that underlie clutch performances, which are defined as successful performances occurring despite an athlete's appraisal of increased psychological pressure (Schweickle, Swann, Jackman, & Vella, 2020Swann, Crust, Jackman et al., 2017a). Evidence gathered so far indicates that clutch state descriptions are conceptually analogous to the telic flow states identified in adventure contexts (Swann, Keegan, Crust, & Piggott, 2016. Although clutch states have generally been reported in high-pressure competitive situations, such as during the final minutes of a tied game, recent evidence suggests that clutch states may also occur in non-competitive contexts (e.g., during training; Swann et al., 2019). ...
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Objectives Optimal psychological states (e.g., flow) are particularly valued by rock-climbers. The integrated model of flow and clutch states has shown promise for better understanding optimal states in sport psychology. The current study examined the antecedents, characteristics, and consequences of these states amongst rock-climbers in relation to the integrated model. A secondary objective was to compare optimal psychological states across outdoor and indoor rock-climbing contexts. Design A sequential-explanatory (QUAN → qual) design was used. Method Nine male and four female advanced rock-climbers completed a flow questionnaire immediately after every climbing route during two separate climbing sessions (i.e., one outdoor, one indoor). Intensity sampling was used to identify participants for 13 semi-structured interviews, based on high- or low-score thresholds established by the research team. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and an abductive logic. Results Participants reported an optimal state during at least one of their climbs in 72% of their outdoor sessions and 40% of their indoor sessions. A focus on exploring routes was reported as preceding flow states, which were characterised by enjoyment of effortless movement for its own sake. In contrast, specific goals and additional risk-based pressure were reported as preceding clutch states, which were described as maximal effort. After experiencing flow, participants reported additional vitality. Despite feeling accomplished following clutch states, participants reported exhaustion. Conclusions This study suggests potential antecedents, characteristics, and consequences of two distinct, yet overlapping, optimal states that appear to occur during both indoor and outdoor climbing. Findings extend understanding of the integrated flow and clutch state model beyond traditional sport and exercise contexts and demonstrates the utility of the model for adventure recreation. Recommendations for future research include testing, refining, and expanding the integrated model of flow and clutch.
Article
Goal setting is widely applied in sport. Whereas existing reviews have addressed the performance effects of goal setting, less is known about the concurrent psychological and psychophysiological effects. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that synthesised the effects of goal setting on task performance and various psychological and psychophysiological outcomes in sport. Searches returned 17,841 articles, with 27 meeting eligibility criteria. A meta-analysis of the performance effects and a narrative synthesis of the psychological and psychophysiological effects were undertaken. Process goals had the largest effect on performance (d = 1.36) compared to performance goals (d = 0.44) and outcome goals (d = 0.09). No significant difference in performance was found between specific (d = 0.37) and non-specific goals (d = 0.72). Process goals also had large effects on self-efficacy (d = 1.11), whereas studies guided by self-regulation theory (k = 5) produced the greatest performance enhancements (d = 1.53). It was rarely possible to draw conclusions regarding the effects of goal setting on psychological/psychophysiological outcomes due to a lack of cross study evidence. Nevertheless, these findings provide important insights to guide research and practice on the use of goal setting to enhance performance and psychological/psychophysiological outcomes in sport.
Article
Motivation is one of the important factors that increase the success of athletes, especially who lift weights. It increases not only the success of the athletes but also influences other notions such as increasing self‐confidence, decreasing anxiety, and improving endurance. Although motivation has a key role in the performance of athletes, most of the athletes may be fully motivated only in competition environments. However, being motivated only in competition environments is not enough for athletes since they spend most of their time in training. If they are motivated in training environments as motivated as in competition environments, they can increase their performance, however, being motivated during training sessions is not easy since there are not enough motivational factors, such as spectators, in training environments. In order to solve this problem, this study aims to increase the motivation levels of powerlifters during training sessions by developing a virtual competition environment. In this environment, the athletes experience a virtual competition environment by using HTC Vive. To understand the efficiency of the virtual environment, it was tested with 32 professional athletes. The findings illustrated that using VR technology was beneficial to increase the level of motivation of powerlifters during training sessions. Motivation is one of the important factors that increase the success of athletes. Most of the athletes may be fully motivated only in competition environments. If there would be a chance to increase their motivation during training sessions, their performance and success may be increased. To achieve this issue, a virtual competition environment was designed by benefiting from VR technology. The findings illustrated that VR technology was beneficial to increase the level of motivation of powerlifters during training sessions.
Chapter
The notion that certain athletes have an ability to increase their performance during the most pressurised moments in sport is an appealing concept to athletes, coaches, and fans alike. Improving one’s performance during pressure circumstances is known as clutch performance (Otten, 2009). Athletes with a perceived propensity for delivering clutch performances often hold a significant position in sporting folklore. For example, Michael Jordan has been described as “the most clutch player in NBA history” (Wallace et al., 2013, p. 643), an unsurprising assertion for basketball fans familiar with Jordan’s famous, game-winning moments, such as “The Shot” against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 Finals series, or “The Last Shot” against Utah Jazz to win the 1998 NBA Finals Series. Indeed, players with reputations as clutch performers seem to appear in almost every sporting code, such as: Derek Jeter in Major League Baseball, widely referred to as “Mr November”; Tom Brady in the National Football League; or, Cristiano Ronaldo’s reputation for scoring in knockout games and major championships. Despite the widely held belief that certain athletes can consistently flourish under pressure, the statistical evidence supporting this idea is lacking, and on the whole, suggests that clutch performers are a statistical myth. However, this assertion must be weighed against the definitional issues that are present within this field, as well as the lack of consensus over what exactly constitutes a clutch performance, and therefore, a clutch performer. That is, asserting whether clutch performers are indeed a myth, or reality, largely depends on what we consider a clutch performer to be. This chapter aims to explore these issues, as well as providing recommendations to coaches on how clutch performances may be facilitated, based on the best available evidence.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the optimal psychological state for peak performance in Australian elite athletes. World championship and Olympic athletes (n = 17) and coaches (n = 6) from rowing, swimming, and diving were interviewed about the psychological states that contribute to peak performance. Results indicated that peak performance is characterized by the automatic execution of performance. A proposed model for the optimal psychological state identifies self-regulation, control, and trust as processes that assist athletes to transition from experiencing a diversity of psychological factors during competition to the automatic psychological state of peak performance.
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Objectives: Research to date has identified a range of factors suggested to facilitate flow states in sport. However, less attention has focused on how those facilitating factors influence the occurrence of flow. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the specific ways in which such facilitators influenced flow occurrence in European Tour golf. Design: Qualitative design. Method: Ten full-time golfers from the European Tour (M age = 37; SD = 13.08) took part in semi-structured interviews investigating the occurrence of their flow states. Data were interpreted using an iterative process of thematic and connecting analyses. Results: Ten facilitators of flow were identified, of which commitment and the caddie do not appear to have been reported previously. Twenty four connecting links were identified in the data, through which the caddie, effective preparation, and high-quality performance appeared to be most influential for flow occurrence. Confidence and concentration also emerged as key constructs underlying the flow experience in this setting. Conclusion: A central contribution of this study is the identification of ways in which facilitating factors could influence flow occurrence in elite golf. This process adds detail to understanding of flow occurrence, and moves beyond simply identifying factors which are associated with the experience. As such, connecting analysis is proposed as an additional strategy for qualitatively investigating flow occurrence in sport. Results are discussed in relation to previous literature, and recommendations are identified for researchers, athletes, coaches and practitioners.
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This study explored perceptions regarding the experience of flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1975) in elite golf; a sport which is different to those studied previously due to its self-paced, stop-start nature. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 European Tour golfers. Whereas the majority of previous studies have deductively coded data into Csikszentmihalyi’s dimensions, the data in this study were analysed inductively. Thirteen categories were generated which described the flow experiences of these golfers, and these were compared to the original flow dimensions after analysis. In contrast to previous understanding, these golfers reported being aware that they were in flow as it occurred, and seemingly were able to manage their flow experiences. A category describing altered cognitive and kinaesthetic perceptions was also generated which was not accounted for in the existing flow framework, while the participants also suggested that flow was observable (e.g., through changes in behaviour). Findings are discussed in relation to existing literature, and recommendations made for future research including possible revisions to the flow framework to better describe this experience within golf and other sporting contexts.
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Research on flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975) has traditionally focused on reactive, externally-paced sports (e.g., tennis) without exploring those that are self-paced and stopstart in nature. This study investigated the occurrence of flow in a sample of thirteen elite golfers by conducting semi-structured interviews discussing: (i) their experiences of flow, (ii) factors that influenced flow occurrence, and (iii) the controllability of these experiences. Results shared similarity with existing research in terms of the majority of influencing factors reported, including motivation, preparation, focus, psychological state, environmental and situational conditions, and arousal, and that flow was reported to be at least potentially controllable. Golf-specific influences were also noted, including pre-shot routines, use of psychological interventions, standard of performance, and maintenance of physical state, suggesting that flow may have occurred differently for this sample. Findings are discussed and applied recommendations are made that may help golfers put relevant factors in place to increase the likelihood of experiencing flow.
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Objectives There has been considerable inconsistency and confusion in the definition of elite/expert athletes in sport psychology research, which has implications for studies conducted in this area and for the field as a whole. This study aimed to: (i) critically evaluate the ways in which recent research in sport psychology has defined elite/expert athletes; (ii) explore the rationale for using such athletes; and (iii) evaluate the conclusions that research in this field draws about the nature of expertise. Design Conventional systematic review principles were employed to conduct a rigorous search and synthesise findings. Methods A comprehensive literature search of SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES and Academic Search Complete was completed in September, 2013 which yielded 91 empirical studies published between 2010 and 2013. The primarily qualitative findings were analysed thematically. Results Eight ways of defining elite/expert athletes were identified, ranging from Olympic champions to regional level competitors and those with as little as two years of experience in their sport. Three types of rationale were evident in these studies (i.e., “necessity”, “exploratory” and “superior”); while findings also indicated that some elite athletes are psychologically idiosyncratic and perhaps even dysfunctional in their behaviour. Finally, only 19 of the 91 included studies provided conclusions about the nature of expertise in sport. Conclusions This study suggests that the definitions of elite athletes vary on a continuum of validity, and the findings are translated into a taxonomy for classifying expert samples in sport psychology research in future. Recommendations are provided for researchers in this area.
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Objectives This study aimed to provide an up-to-date summary of the literature on flow in elite sport, specifically relating to: (i) how flow is experienced; (ii) how these states occur; and (iii) the potential controllability of flow.DesignSystematic review.MethodsA comprehensive literature search of SPORTdiscus, PsycINFO, SAGE journals online, INGENTA connect, and Web of Knowledge was completed in August, 2011, and yielded 17 empirical studies published between 1992 and 2011. The primarily qualitative findings were analysed thematically and synthesised using a narrative approach.ResultsFindings indicated that: (i) some flow dimensions appear to be experienced more consistently than others; (ii) key factors were consistently reported to induce or inhibit flow occurrence; and (iii) the perception that flow experiences could be controllable to some extent, and are not merely ‘coincidental’. Additionally, it is appears that physiology is also relevant in flow, and these experiences may be psychophysiological.Conclusions Based on these findings, recommendations are made including the need for researchers to move from description to explanation of flow, the use of new methodologies, greater focus on the role of personality factors, and possible refinements of existing flow theory to be more specific to sport.
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There are a number of innovative procedures available for use in qualitative research, including observation, note-taking and verbal protocol techniques. This paper highlights the potential usefulness of stimulated recall as an innovative technique for use in qualitative research in sport and possibly exercise. Specifically, it focuses on video footage obtained from head-mounted cameras for use in stimulated recall during post-event interviews. Examples of research studies carried out in simulation training with fire and emergency personnel and with leisure participants in a whitewater adventure setting, are used to illustrate how stimulated recall can be utilised effectively in practice. Participants in a river-surfing course completed daily qualitative semi-structured interviews, facilitated by footage from head-mounted video cameras. The cameras were worn throughout the course while participants were in the water. The use of the head-mounted equipment and video-footage as stimulated recall in the study and preliminary findings about the procedure are described. Finally, a number of advantages and disadvantages of head-mounted camera and stimulated recall procedures in general are discussed.
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Joint effects of daily events and dispositional sensitivities to cues of reward and punishment on daily positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) were examined in 3 diary studies. Study 1 showed that positive events were strongly related to PA but not NA, whereas negative events were strongly related to NA but not PA. Studies 2 and 3 examined how the dispositional sensitivities of independent appetitive and aversive motivational systems, the Behavioral Activation System (BAS) and the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS), moderated these relationships. Participants in Study 2 with higher BAS sensitivity reported more PA on average; those with more sensitive BIS reported more NA. Also, BIS moderated reactions to negative events, such that higher BIS sensitivity magnified reactions to negative events. Study 3 replicated these findings and showed that BAS predisposed people to experience more positive events. Results demonstrate the value of distinguishing within-person and between-person effects to clarify the functionally independent processes by which dispositional sensitivities influence affect.
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Abstract The main purpose of this study was to examine interaction effects between skill level and performance contexts on the experience of flow in adolescent tennis players. The study employed a factorial design to examine differences in flow frequency between competition and training settings and the independent groups factor of ranking list and club players. Junior tennis players (55 males, 29 females) completed the Dispositional Flow Scale-2 in training and competition settings. A repeated-measure ANCOVA, with years of tennis experience and training hours per week as covariates, showed a significant main effect for skill level, F(1, 82) = 6.67, p<0.05, [Formula: see text], a significant main effect for performance contexts, F(1, 82) = 7.69, p<0.01, [Formula: see text], and a significant disordinal interaction, F(1, 82) = 9.93, p<0.01, [Formula: see text]. Lower skilled athletes experienced flow with similar frequency across performance contexts, whereas advanced players experienced flow more often during training than competition. Qualitative results showed that club players' involvement in both performance contexts was mainly based on intrinsic reasons, whereas ranking list players reported intrinsic reasons for training, but a high number of extrinsic reasons for competition. Future studies should take propositions of the flow model into account in order to advance theoretical developments on interaction effects and shed more light into the complex processes underlying flow in sport.