PART 8: CONTROLLING THE CONTROLLABLES
Control is a double-edged sword. Try to gain too much and you could do more harm than good. Here we break down chapter eight of Flow In Sports.
Control is necessary in all sports, but often we run the risk of trying to control things out of our personal remit, which can be detrimental to achieving flow. It's important to know where the boundaries lie between what you should be trying to control, and which things serve as a distraction.
Understanding What We Can’t Control
We can't control opponents in a race or competition and in trying to preempt their every move we loose all chances of getting into flow ourselves, forfeiting performance. We also can't control weather or snow conditions, but this highlights a need to understand fully what we are dealing with.
There’s a difference between better understanding, and control. We can use tools, knowledge and techniques to asses conditions.
From checking weather reports and apps, to conducting a survey of the snowpack, we can make sensible assumptions based on our findings.
We may get an insight into how stable the snow might be on a particular face, or plot a route through the trees to combat whiteout conditions. The important thing to remember is that even with good information and a wealth of experience, we will never know, or be able to control these elements.
Skills & Control
Sometimes, it might be our skillset that presents the obstacle. Maybe we don't feel confident performing a certain trick, or have never done a run of this level before.
However, it’s important not to loose sight of what we aren’t able to achieve. As the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Do not let what you cannot do, interfere with what you can do.”
Letting Go of Control
It’s a mystical balance, but finding that middle ground between control and ‘giving in’ is a dance that describes flow very well. When we believe in our skills and have confidence in our ability, we’re able to give in to the process and move fluidly, in rhythm, and disappear into the action.
Through sensory feedback, we need to be staying in control of our body, our breathing, how our limbs are moving and how we have total awareness of our equipment.
This kind of control is absolutely achievable. After all, the only thing we can truly control is ourselves and we are merely reacting to everything else around us. Whether it's the weather, terrain, or competitors, we can only control our reactions to these things and move forward accordingly.