PART 9: FOCUSING ON FUN
In the final installment of our Flow In Sports breakdown, we look at one of the most important elements of the mindset.
While this might not have always been the main driving force for adults to take up a new sport, it’s almost always the reason for continuing with it.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in our breakdown of Flow In Sports, and while it might seem like a lot to take in, it’s the balance of these components that enable us to reach flow.
The merging of all these elements starts to happen automatically and is used as a way to focus our mind in the correct way.
When all this happens, that rush, that high, that feeling of enjoyment and exhilaration all come at once. In order to have fun though, we need to keep things simple and try not to get too distracted with outcomes and external influences.
Competition & Reward
Sponsorship, podium finishes and prize money are all exciting rewards that can both motivate us, and take away outside pressures such as funding our sporting pursuits.
Whilst there are obvious benefits and incentive to these things, they can also serve to distract us from the part of sport that’s actually fun, making flow much harder to achieve. We can break down our motivations into two camps, and figure out which ones to tune into, and which ones to keep at arms reach.
Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motives
When we look at what motivates us, we can usually break these into two groups, intrinsic motives and extrinsic motives. If our motivation is linked to enjoyment, and how it feels to do our sports, then these are probably intrinsic motives.
However, if our motivations are on outcomes, such as making us feel healthier, looking cool, or being the best at our endeavours, then these are extrinsic.
Extrinsic motivations are not necessarily bad, but we need to ensure that we are focusing on more intrinsic motives to better achieve flow. This also allows us to recover and respond to negative feedback better, and take stumbles or falls in our stride.
That incomparable feeling you get from displaying competence in your sport provides us with an escape.
Whether it’s gliding through an untracked powder field, or dialing in a clean backside 540, there’s a difference between doing these things by chance, or fluke, and performing them competently with precision.
Yes, this display may garner attention from others, but the feeling of knowing you did these things with prowess, and control provides us with a very good feeling.
And it’s all about how our sport makes us feel. When we remember to focus on how good it feels to display competence, it can put a new aspect on training and help us move up the challenge-skills balance in a much more comfortable way.
The Good Stuff
Fun. It’s why we continue to get out in the cold, dark mornings and make our way up into the mountains.
Our pursuit for pleasure instills profound motivation and when we find that elusive corner of our mind, where we feel the rhythm, that fluidity, and slip into flow, we enter a realm where everything just clicks.
That feeling is what keeps us hungry for more.