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Managing pressure
Fear of failure
Stress management
playing in the zone

What flow means

Flow or being in the zone is a mental state when an athlete becomes completely absorbed in the activity they are performing and performs at a high level.

When an athlete experiences flow or is in the zone, they are totally immersed in what they are doing, they feel calm, confident and in control of things, they perform in a fluid and intuitive manner and they tend to lose track of time.

Flow tends to happen in sporting situations where an athlete faces a challenge that they consider is stretching but manageable and where they lose self-consciousness, enjoy performing and experience a sense of mastery.


The experience of flow while competing which is the result of hard work and repetitive practice makes performance satisfying, worthwhile and enjoyable and motivates an athlete to want to continually improve their skills and seek new challenges.

Keys to achieving flow

Here are some keys to what you need to do to get in the zone and achieve flow.

  During training and competition, focus on the task in hand and eliminate possible distractions from what is going on around you.  
  Trust and act on your instincts and intuition. Be prepared to let go and take calculated risks.  
  When you are competing, try to stay in the present and immerse yourself in what you are doing.  
  View training as a challenge to improve your skills and train with intensity and commitment.   
  Get yourself feeling positive and confident before performing by, for example, recreating past positive experiences and visualizing yourself performing in the zone.  
  Rehearse beforehand how you see yourself performing and focus on enjoying competing and performing.  


Watch this video

To develop your understanding of flow, watch this video in which Kobe Bryant explains what it is like being in the zone.


Read this book

Read Finding Your Zone: Ten Core Lessons for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life by Michael Lardon.