SPORTS AND FLOW
By Scott Ford
If there is one thing that unites us as athletes, it’s our ability to create a state of being called “flow.” Flow-states are ubiquitous in the world. In sports, flow-state performances are also known as playing in the zone, and if you have ever been in the zone in your sport, then you have been in a unified and coherent state of flow. They come, stay a while, then go, leaving us wondering what just happened and how can we make it happen again?
Today we know exactly what happened. We were temporarily “in the zone.” Temporarily “in-flow.” And because our “in-flow” experiences are unified states of being, they always feel right, like this is the way it’s supposed to be. This is what it’s all about.
Then, it all goes away, and we return to playing in our normal state, out of flow, not in.
It happens to all of us, everywhere in the world, no matter our sport, nor our level of skill. We’ve all had random flow-state experiences, and we have all wondered how to have more. In coaching, now that neuroscience has linked the human state of flow to a brain state called transient hypofrontality, playing in the zone is shedding its woo-woo classification with solid neurophysiological evidence and flow-state psychology.
It’s just a matter of time before flow-state training becomes an integral part of every high-performance coaching program in the world. We are already seeing it in professional sports here in the States where next-generation coaches are paying close attention to flow-state training practices. The forefront of coaching is no longer decided by which programs produce the most winners, but rather which programs produce the most unity. Unity and winning go hand-in-hand, just like losing goes hand-in-hand with division.
Think about the last time you were in the zone or playing in a state of flow. You probably weren’t thinking about winning or losing, more likely, you weren’t thinking at all. Instead of thinking, you were instinctively playing, playing for the sheer sake of playing. That’s all your play was about.
In psychology, these are called autotelic experiences, meaning experiences with their own intrinsic values. In other words, each of our flow-state experiences contain meaning and purpose of their own.
Have you ever wondered about the deeper meaning and purpose of these autotelic experiences we call flow? What does flow mean to human evolution? What is the evolutionary purpose of a unified experience of player-field coherence? Is there something more to flow than playing your socks off without knowing how or why?
Now that flow-state training is being integrated into high-performance coaching programs, more coaches and more athletes will be trained in how to create flow by choice, rather than by chance, which means the intentional creation of more and better unified experiences of player-field coherence.
What deeper meaning does that state of unity and coherence have for the human potential movement? What is flow’s deeper evolutionary purpose?
Flow creates unity and coherence. Unity in space; coherence in time. When we are “in the flow,” not only are we spatially unified with the action on the field, but we are also in a state of temporal coherence with the ever-present dimension of dynamic flowing presence. Nowhere in that state of dynamic flowing presence does it say, “you have to be a winner to be in a state of flow,” and once you’ve been in a state of flow, you will remember the experience more than its outcome.
What if our flow-state experiences were first-person displays of our full evolutionary potential as conscious human beings? What if our flow-state experiences were temporary examples of what we can become if we choose a pathway of unity and coherence versus our current pathway of rivalry and division? These are questions being asked and experientially answered in the Evolutionary Sports Collective.
EVO Sports has spent the pandemic year of 2021 on a developmental pathway of unity and coherence; a pathway where flow-state experiences are roadmaps into the future of sports and the conscious evolution of its next-generation of coaches, athletes, trainers, and practitioners.
If you are interested in unity and coherence; in mental, emotional, and flow-state training, then please join us at EVO Sports as our collective of coaches, athletes, scientists, and philosophers creatively advance the forefront of coaching and performance consciousness.
2022 is looking good for flow in sports!
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