ON THE STATE OF SPORT PSYCHOLOGY
By Scott Ford
My association with Sport Psychology has been a back and forth discussion on the subject of conscious flow and conscious flow coaching. More precisely, is it possible to intentionally generate a flow state performance, and if it is, then is it also possible to coach intentional flow?
For much of my career as a USPTA tennis pro, the consensus opinion of sport psychology has been that flow or “the zone” cannot be intentionally created because flow is a selfless state, and one cannot create a selfless state through self-will. End of story.
That makes sense on its surface, but I’ve been teaching athletes to get in the zone on purpose since 1978, and have found sport psychology’s consensus opinion to be misleading, if not blatantly false. It is indeed possible to create a flow state by choice, it is also possible to maintain that flow state intentionally, and with practice, it is possible to create a flow state performance during competition.
It is also possible to coach flow in sports, which is one of the calling cards of the Evolutionary Sports Collective. Not only does the EvoSports Collective believe that flow can be learned, but it also believes that flow can be coached, and we are actively looking to highlight coaching models that include flow state training.
Over the past several years, neuroscience has jumped into the discussion of flow, bringing scientific rigor to the peak human experience. According to neuroscience, flow is caused by a condition called transient hypofrontality, which is a temporary deactivation of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. And while this is valuable information to know, it doesn’t tell you how to do it. It doesn’t tell you how to deactivate your prefrontal cortex, nor does it tell coaches how to deactivate the prefrontal cortex of their players.
The EvoSports Collective can help with the deactivation process, and have fun at the same time. We welcome scientific models on flow, psychological models on the human peak experience, as well as coaching techniques that train athletes how to create and maintain the flow state experience by choice, not by chance.
Here is a look at a practice that deactivates your prefrontal cortex through a simple concentrative task: Getting in the Zone
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