Flow Interview – Sarah Hendrickson – World Champion Ski Jumper

Flow Interview – Sarah Hendrickson – World Champion Ski Jumper

Articles To Inspire Flow Performance Skills Quotes Stories

For those that don’t know Sarah Hendrickson, meet one of the most exciting female athletes around.
Sarah Hendrickson is an American ski jumper who won the first ever women’s World Cup season in 2012. She is a 22-time World Cup medalist and 13-time Continental Cup medalist. It goes without saying, but we were delighted to catch up with here and even more delighted to have her on board The Flow Centre.

Her career highlights include:
• 22-time World Cup Medalist (13 Gold, 6 Silver, 3 Bronze)
• 13-time Continental Cup Medalist (4 Gold, 4 Silver, 5 Bronze)
• 2014, Olympic Winter Games, 21st
• 2013, World Cup, Second Place Overall
• 2013, World Championships Gold Medalist
• 2012, World Cup Overall Champion
• 2011, U.S. Normal Hill Champion
• 2011, World Championships Normal Hill 16th place
• 2009, World Championships Normal Hill 29th place

Anyway, enough intro, let’s get on with what Sarah had to say.

Cameron:
So tell me about your flow experiences.

Sarah:
I think that time at the world championships. I remember being at the top and just so nervous. I was like “I can’t feel my feet right now! I don’t know how I’m going to do this!” and then I got to the bottom after my second jump, and obviously had won, and it was like something else took over my body, because there was so much pressure and everything. I don’t know how I performed to that level with that much pressure, my mind just took over and muscle memory and everything. It was like “Okay, you know what to do subconsciously, and just focus”. It’s kind of hard to explain.

Cameron:
Yeah, especially when you remember it. You get all those feelings and tingly sensations, and then you’re like “But, but… How did it happen?!”

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly!

Cameron:
So, describe some of the characteristics that you might have felt during it? You said everything felt amazing. Can you go into a little bit more about how that felt, or what you feel you experienced?

Sarah:
I guess effortless is almost the right word. Your body is doing all these things, but it’s subconscious, you don’t have to think about it right there. It’s hard to explain, I guess effortless and flawless, almost numb. But that’s the first experience I think of when you describe flow, the world championships in Italy in 2013.

We have two jumps and I was winning after the first jump, then we jump in reverse order, so I was going last on the second jump. The girl before me was within a small margin of me; she jumped and I could hear the crowd cheering. I was just trying to block everything out and focus on myself. I remember thinking “My feet are numb!” I was kind of freaking out, thinking “How am I going to pull this off?” then I was just like “Well, nothing to lose now. Just shake it out.” That’s when the hours of training comes in, the muscle memory, your mind just goes into reserve mode, just don’t focus on the pressure, don’t focus on the small details; everything will run its course.

Sochiskijump

Cameron:
What did you do to help you focus and get into that state?

Sarah:
I blocked out the outside world. When I’m jumping, I’ve been jumping for 13 years now, I just focus on one or two really simple things. It doesn’t mean anything to the outside world because they’re technical terms for ski jumping, but I relax my arms, balance and timing. Timing is so important in ski jumping, timing and rhythm. So, I just pick those two things that I had been focusing on and just zero in on that, everything else will just come. I didn’t need to focus on the other stuff because I was in that mind set, the muscle memory or whatever would just take over.

Cameron:
When you focus on it, do you repeat the words, like relax your arms? Or, do you almost use the words to brainwash yourself? How do you focus on it?

Sarah:
Yeah, exactly! Part of me is hearing the announcers and people calling scores or whatever of the girls in front of me. So, I try to speak to myself as loudly as I can in my head so that I don’t hear the outside. I’ll even try and shake my head so that I don’t hear. I just don’t want to hear that, you can’t think about jumping a certain distance, that’s not how it happens. You have to focus on the miniscule things, that’s going to make you jump further. Repetition and even whispering words out loud sometime, or just yelling in my head.

Cameron:
What else do you think helps you get into that zone? Is there preparation that you might do leading up to it the morning of, the evening of? Or anything else that you do as you’re walking up the steps, preparing, or when you’re sitting down, or just before you take off?

Sarah:
Yeah, repetition actually, and not just in words. I have the same warm-up routine that I do a certain time before a jump. How I put my equipment on and stuff. I’m kind of OCD, so those things are just zeroed in. I know exactly what time I need to put on my stuff, when I’m waiting at the top, 10 jumpers before my tie my boots a little tighter the step out and start putting my skis on. Repetition is really, really important for me, just doing the same thing over and over, and I do it the same for training. You need to compete like you train and train like you compete. Have that same physical repetition and the mental preparation the same every single day.

Cameron:
Do you have any other big flow experiences? Maybe one that tops the world championship?

Sarah:
It’s a bit different, because I didn’t have a good result, but I guess doing the Olympics. I had some serious surgery about five and a half months before Sochi. I managed to get through rehab, but I just wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be, but my coaches felt like I deserved to be there.
The training days leading up, my knee was in so much pain and I knew I wasn’t mentally strong enough and prepared to be there, then on competition day I got unlucky with the wind. But, my practice jump that morning, we always get one practice jump, my coach just looked at me and was like “Oh my God – that was a million times better!” He was like “You showed up for game day! Regardless of the pain you’re in and everything you’ve been through these past six months, you just put it all aside, and your body knew exactly what to do, and you had an awesome jump!”
I was just in that kind of mindset. I just pushed the pain away, pushed every doubt and piece of junk that I’d gone through out of me and just had a normal jump. And my coaches saw it. The coaches from the other nations saw it too, it was kind of crazy. It was like even though it had been a while my body still knew what to do.

Cameron:
What helped you jump that morning?

Sarah:
I don’t know! I just thought “Don’t have any regrets. You’ve Sarah1trained so hard to be here. Maybe you’re not at your strongest but you’ve worked so hard, now let’s prove it”. I had to change my warm-up and everything, my knee was so bad I couldn’t even run. But I figured I’ve got three more jumps today, then I’m done. After today I can just rest and reassess everything. I had another surgery after that, but it didn’t matter at that point, I was just like “Show them what you’ve got!” I’m ultra-competitive obviously, which makes it easier to get into that mindset.
You have to find a balance between focused and almost not too serious, though. If you try to hard when you’re super competitive in ski jumping it just doesn’t work. We all say that technically, it’s a very simple sport, but it’s against everything that your body wants to do, so when you get too focused there’s no flow to it. It’s too choppy; it’s not smooth and out of rhythm. So when you stay relaxed and just focus on a couple of things everything is much smoother, develops the power better and it all just comes together much better than trying to force it.

Cameron:
So what do you do to help yourself stay relaxed?

Sarah:
Well, I’m friends with a lot of the girls from the other nations, so we’ll all be talking at the top of the hill, kind of joking around before getting ready to go. Like if it’s been a bad day and I’m kind of down on myself I think “I’m not going to pull of the best jump right now, but look at the view! Think how hard you worked to get here, you’re so fortunate to be here.” I just kind of step back and make the most of the situation, because competing is really stressful. This is the best job in the world, but it’s stressful.
Sometimes that’s easy to get down on, then I think “why do I put so much pressure on myself?” I try to step away from all that negativity and just appreciate where I am. You can’t have a good day every day and the people that really matter, the ones closest to me, they know that I’ve worked really hard to get here and are just like “Alright, shrug it off, you can’t be on top every single day.”

The Flow Centre would like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah Hendrickson and the Wasserman Group for their time and energy.

Flow and Learning – When It All Comes Together

Flow and Learning – When It All Comes Together

Flow Music Performance Skills Sports Tips and Training

 

The beauty of learning a new skill exists in bringing it all together. There is an almost tangible threshold after which you can suddenly feel your mind expanding and integrating your new skill in a profound way. This is part of the path to mastery and a definite access point to flow.

The process described here is known as ‘chunking’. Without being too tangential or abstract about this concept, let me give you an example: To learn a new skill you start with the basic motor patterns. You slowly execute and rehearse these patterns of behaviour day by day until you get proficient at it. That action gets locked in the subconscious as motor memory.

This pattern gets ‘chunked’ in your brain and accessed as a block of information which is a whole rather than split into its sub-components. When learning to play guitar for example, initially we consciously place each finger on the correct fret in order to play a chord. Slowly as we rehearse placing our fingers in the correct location, it becomes automatic – part of our motor memory. When first learning chord A, we would place all our fingers in the correct position, then strum the chord. It takes a whole lot of brainpower to accomplish this, until slowly it becomes integrated into our subconscious and ‘chunked’ in to our brain so that whenever we see it coming up on a piece of music our fingers automatically arrange themselves in the correct pattern.

What is fascinating about chunking is that initially complex tasks actually get packaged in a form that is much easier for the brain to handle. The result is less energy expenditure for higher-level tasks. ‘Chunks’ can exist in multiple hierarchies. The next chunk for guitar playing could be playing a chord pattern that becomes automatic after rehearsing it a number of times. For example, musicians play chords A, D, E, A in order without having to think about the minutiae of the chord changes.

flow learning

The ultimate experience and gateway to flow occurs when we transcend the motor components of our skills and get into higher-level thinking. We are able to think of the strategy, enjoy the moment and get a greater view of our surroundings – if we are on stage we are not thinking about how to play the chords or the song structure.

Instead the experience becomes about engaging with the crowd, feeling the music and communicating with the other band members. Jazz music is a perfect example of this as musicians subconsciously communicate with the band members allowing the improvised patterns to find their own flow. Transitioning from one solo into another becomes an effortless task. Good jazz groups seem highly connected as if they are playing as one. In jazz this is known as ‘being in the pocket’. Scientifically, we call this flow. The greater the challenge and intensity of this experience the deeper the flow experience for these musicians.

In kitesurfing, this happened to me when I finally mastered the kite and board combo to the point where I no longer had to think about it in detail. I was then able to take a meta-viewpoint on the situation. Suddenly I was able to enjoy the wind in my face, the view of the ocean and take charge of the direction of travel. It became a whole new experience. Once you stop having to Think and you are able to just Do, it is possible to let go and naturally flow will occur.

The bottom line is that there are many layers to learning and mastering a skill. It starts with the basic parts and slowly things integrate into chunks of information, to the point where you are finally able to transcend the skill itself and enjoy the activity on a whole new level. Flow comes naturally to those who forget about the How because the conscious thinking part of your brain switches off as you take your skill to the next stage. Keep persisting through the challenging stages when learning a new skill as the real fruits of your labour lie further down the path to mastery.

 

joos-small  Aucamthor: Dr Joos Meyer – Flow Seeker
Editor: Cameron Norsworthy – Performance Director

 

 

Whiplash – How To Reach Perfection

Whiplash – How To Reach Perfection

Music Performance Skills Stories Tips and Training

After watching a fantastic film called ‘Whiplash’ I feel almost obliged to inflame a topic that is wide open for debate in many modern day performance arenas. How do we push people beyond their limits?

The film brilliantly depicts the relationship between an ambitious student jazz musician and an abusive, yet highly respected instructor. The student, Teller, is seeking to be more than just a great drummer, but ‘one of the greats’. His teacher, Simmons, equally is only looking to shape and mould the next musical genius. Simmons methods of coaching are outrageous and would send most psychologists into red alert, as his abusive conduct produces heart-broken and dysfunctional teenagers.

His position as Head of Music for the most prestigious school in the country is undoubtedly the reason these students remain in his class despite being physically, mentally and emotional abused in the hope that one day they will graduate as a name to remember. Teller’s remarkable talent is questionably furthered by Simmons who pushes him to his limits and in the process opens up much food for thought and topics for debate surrounding performance.

 

perfect

 

His methods of gutting their confidence, and putting their heads under the guillotine every time they play installs a fear induced motivation that ironically leaves the musicians driven to train harder and faster than they have before. Simmons uses his power to great effect and yields nothing but exceptional results, yet causes the musicians a life of discontent, isolation, and madness. Simmons power-plays back Teller into a corner where he is either forced to perform or crack. Teller like most of us does both over time but at the end his anguish and determination ignites a mind-blowing peak performance just when he needs it most.

The story is fitting with much of the training that we associate happening decades ago and is still publicly rife in places like China, as they arguably abuse young athletes until they reach a level of perfection. The obvious commentary is that these methods are not only inhumane but also unsustainable – the performers are the ones who have to live inside their twisted minds and bodies long after the lights go out.

This approach leaves behind many broken minds and bodies that given alternative training may have blossomed into something quite unique and amazing. However, Simmons argues the point in the film, that anything else will simply not produce the next genius that will be remembered for generations. This strategy of work harder, faster, until you drop, at a lesser extent is undoubtedly a typical go to response for most coaches, even today. I see it on tennis courts, in fitness instructors, and corporations reminiscing a hangover from World War II that never went away. Although coaches have adopted the social norms and limits that counteract these extreme teachings the underpinning philosophy still bubbles underneath the surface – I see fear installed in many students and workers all around me.

As performers or coaches it forces us to answer the question: How do we go about pushing our limits and of those around us? Do we use fear as a motivator, which always seems to get short-term results but continuously fails to generate lasting desire. Telling ourselves to pull our socks up and do better for the fear of looking like a fool or being somehow belittled is no doubt one of our go-to strategies. One that many of us have been brought up with and use on a day-to-day basis. If we are to not use this strategy, and change a lifetime of conditioning, then what do we use?

With flow as our central ethos there is another method, one that produces self-generated motivation, fulfilled performers and doesn’t reduce the bar of excellence that is needed to be ‘one of the greats’. When our focus is 100% committed on being the best version of ourselves, do we expect anything less than hard work, determination and resilience? Absolutely not. If we do then I would question whether we are seeking flow or an excuse to go easy on ourselves.

Being in an intense state of flow requires our mind and body to be completely congruent. That means every fabric of our body being aligned to achieve the same goal. In this space there is no room for conflict, fear or separation, instead we are completely immersed and at one with the task at hand. To attain this state repeatedly, it would seem logical we need to have our minds and body congruently primed in our training and life as a whole. If otherwise, these conflicts no matter how small will act like splinters, which will undoubtedly lead to cracks in the system and when the pressure mounts most likely cause us to crumble.

We can reach flow through fear or hatred by erupting to a point where we snap and either find our true magnificence or a road to destruction. This snapping point tips us into a place where we transcend out of our body and into the zone that is ironically free from fear and anger. The fear can increase our arousal to a point where we are forced to plug into the moment and let go or be crippled by it and fight, fly or freeze. Although this strategy is possible, dare I say, still commonplace, an alternative more sustainable, fun, and contagious option is readily available – flow.

 

 

Aucamthor: Cameron Norsworthy – Performance Director

 

Experience Flow Now

Flow Tips and Training Videos

Thanks to FGP and Red Bull Media House, we have a short video designed specifically to help people experience flow. It has been created to help watchers engage in the moment, as it flips form slow mo to fast pace action sports bringing us into the now.

What to do?

Watch the movie, whilst being aware of your senses. Imagine being the athlete, as you seek out every detail, sound, and movement. Allow yourself to become completely immersed in the movie as if you were there, looking through the eyes of the athlete. Engage, observe and experience. Your flow sensation might be small on your’Richter Scale’ but the more familiar we become in experiencing flow on minute levels, the more flow starts to occur in our lives.

Enjoy!

The Art of Flow from Flow Genome Project on Vimeo.

Neuroplasticity and Brain Training

Neuroplasticity and Brain Training

Flow

 

The subconscious mind is an incredible entity with talents we are only beginning to understand. It is highly adaptable and surprisingly flexible in more ways then we can fathom. To use an IT analogy, we are born with our hardware but grow up installing different programmes within our program, but ultimately we are our own architect and can choose what software we want to run. We sculpture our lives by the software and programs we run, so why do we not pay more attention to how we wire our brains.

The body is coordinated and driven by neural control. our nerves run through our muscle mass stimulating and firing signals to activate specific muscles and fibres at precise times to achieve exact functions and movements. Our nerves combine to make neural circuits allowing signals and messages from the brain to flow more efficiently. With repeated messaging and traffic we create neural pathways that act like motorways or highways allowing the traffic of signals to flow faster. These pathways shape how we move, act and think. In turn we can alter these structures through thought, action and belief. When we are in flow, our subconscious is using these neural pathways to perform the actions it is required to do. Conscious thought often interrupts our state of flow and sending different signals through our neural connections, disrupting the traffic flow and resulting in behaviour such as tight muscles, choking or confusion. Just as we can alter our flow negatively we can change our subconscious processing through repetitive conscious thought. By repeatingly interrupting unwanted behaviours such as mal coordination with new messages of coordination, we create new signals, new circuits and new neural pathways. Eventually when the body uses the new pathways more frequently, the old pathways become redundant and therefore inefficient and consequently seize to be used. Changing behaviours is often about learning new ways to adapt and behave rather than focusing on changing the old.

The mind body connection has been used to change personal history, cure patients from diseases only thought to be curable by modern medicine, and increase the speed of rehab. We often hear the term, ‘use it or loose it’, referring to using the brain or allow it to become lazy and use simpler neural pathways. The brain is like a muscle it needs training if we are to use it for a particular aim. We are very lucky in that the subconscious is far more creative and intelligent than we will ever give it credit for. If we can alter our conscious attention to dedicate time to directing the required training of the brain, it will respond ten fold. If we ask our mind and body to create a state of flow and perform as it best knows how, it will. Sometimes we need to take responsibility, become our own master, and use the conscious brain for its original purpose, to direct the subconscious. Like all great leaders if we understand our limitations, and allow ourselves to trust our team, the unit will perform more powerfully. If we have the maturity to let go and trust our more powerful and creative processing unit of our subconscious, it to will respond.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

 

As we become more aware of our breath and deepen the in-breath and out-breath, we help deepen the mind body connection. To help this process visualise your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Start by becoming aware of where the air normally goes.

Does it go into your upper chest or maybe you breath air into your stomach? Practise sucking in air deep into your stomach until it’s full then allow the air to slowly fill up the lungs from the bottom up until there is no space left except the throat and mouth. Once these areas have been filled, slowly start releasing the air out in reverse order.

Keep practising this lengthening the breath every time. As you spend time lengthening your breath, you awareness will begin to go everywhere and anywhere. Where possible stay disciplined and keep focusing on the breath.

Simply be aware of what is happening inside your body and outside your body during the breath. Staying present to the moment or ‘now’, is a valuable tool in any circumstance. After much practise you can use this tool to anchor yourself to the present in a matter of seconds.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

Breathing and Flow

Breathing and Flow

Flow

When we own our breath, nothing can steal our peace.

 

Without our breath we die, and with it we thrive. We only need to hold our breath for more than 30 seconds to see how important it is to us. It is present in everything we do; yet rarely do we actively focus our breath. We simple expect our breathing to function at a level of perfection, all day, everyday.

 

Our breath reacts and changes, depending on our emotional, mental and physical states – if we are scared it increases in frequency, if we are relaxed it decreases in frequency. Furthermore, on the flip side the mind and body will have a physical, mental and emotional reaction to the change in our breath. This is why many performers use the breath to manage their states.

 

Fear is excitement without the breath – Fritz Perls

 

The breath is often referred to as our ‘centre’. It keeps us grounded, acts as our anchor for our well-being, and can be used to overcome the most challenging situations. Through breath we can overcome pain, change fear into excitement and even stop an amygdala hijack (fearful body paralysis). Free divers, like World Record Holder Erez Beatus, are masters at using their breath to help concentrate blood flow towards vital organs in their body whilst experience extreme stress at great depths. When holding his breath for over 8 minutes Beatus explains:

 

“I find the space between two breaths to be a powerful one- it enables me to tap into my fullest potential and be in a state of real flow.” – Erez Beatus (world renowned freediving expert and instructor)

 

To begin harnessing our breath we first need to become aware of it. When we change the rhythm, speed and depth of our breath, we will quickly notice distinct differences. By simply increasing the length of our in-breath and out-breath to 10 seconds each, in only a matter of minutes we can reduce our heart rate from a stressed 120 beats per minute to a resting rate of 60 beats – unbearable nerves and knots in our stomachs to feeling at ease within our body.

 

Our change in heartbeat has an immediate effect on our nervous system, which dramatically affects the way we feel, think and act. The Heart Math Institute, an organisation dedicated to understanding the role of the heart, have heavily linked our heart rate control with performance: “More intriguing are the dramatic positive changes that occur when techniques are applied that increase coherence in rhythmic patterns of heart rate variability. These include shifts in perception and the ability to reduce stress and deal more effectively with difficult situations. We observed that the heart was acting as though it had a mind of its own and was profoundly influencing the way we perceive and respond to the world. In essence, it appeared that the heart was affecting intelligence and awareness.”

 

breathing flow

 Graphic by Heart Math Institute

 

These significant changes can be magnified through training to achieve incredible feats. For example, in October 2012, Stig Severinsen broke the world record and held his breath, not for 3 minutes, nor 10, but 22 minutes!

 

Navy seals use a technique known as box breathing, where they breath-in/hold/breath-out/hold for equal amounts of time, in order to manage their states during training and combat. Jerath et al (2006) showed that Yogic Pranayama breathing has been shown to positively affect immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders. In short, there is a range of proven breathing exercises we can utilise in our daily lives, to help us accomplish a variety of benefits – like maintaining an optimal performance state.

 

“Once I’m geared up I’ll double-check, triple-check everything, make sure I’m cool…and then when it’s time to go…generally I’ll be freaking out – you’ve got to turn that negative fear into a positive fear – that’s when I’ll take three deep breaths, and throw myself into the unknown.” Chris Douggs McDougall (World Record Holder – Base Jumper)

 

Many performers often tell me how dedicating time to focusing and exploring their breath is time consuming. Fitting in an extra 20 minutes to their already jam-packed schedules often never happens. Instead, what works very well is focusing on the breath for 1 minute every hour in the day. There is always time to take 60 seconds here or there. This discipline is a great way to build a regular connection to our breath and ultimately I-Flow.

 

“I think connecting with the breath is probably the biggest thing for me. Connecting with my breath at the deepest level, like right down into the hip, into the hips and push my breath. Being aware of my breath and doing a number of breaths very, very consciously brings me further into my body, and that’s where I need to be. Quite often my scattered and very short attention span takes me out of my body, so coming back into my body.” Tom Carroll (World Champion Surfer)

 

By bringing our breath into our conscious awareness we create a powerful bridge between our conscious and subconscious, and the connection between our mind and body – giving us the opportunity to find flow. Whether we want to decrease anxiety, manage our energy output or heal our body, we can exploit the breath on both a physical and mental level to make the necessary changes. For example, if we are about to perform in front of a crowd, and our anxiety suddenly spikes, and our mind becomes full of negative thoughts, we can quickly focus on breathing-in positivity and breathing-out negativity. If we sustain this exercise for long enough, we will find that we are left with only positive thoughts and feelings – helping us to perform, as we want. With practice we can dramatically reduce the time required to achieve the same results, making it an ideal performance cue. We can use this process to breathe-out doubt, a recent mistake, or some frustration we are holding on to. We can even practise breathing-in flow. If we taught younger generations how to breathe during their performances, exams and learning, imagine the leap forward each generation would take from this one simple lesson.

 

Aligning our Performance Levels

Aligning our Performance Levels

Flow

 

A widely accepted break down of the layers in which we live, thanks to NLP, start at a SPIRITUAL core, that defines our purpose in life. Out of which we create our IDENTITY which form and effects our VALUES and BELIEFS. These values and beliefs determine our COMPETENCIES or skills and knowledge we choose to learn and engage in. Our competencies predominantly affect our BEHAVIOUR which is also affected by, and creates, our ENVIRONMENT and context In which we live.

These levels essentially make up our reality. We engage with life and Information at different levels at different times, and use these levels as a sort of funneling system to pass through new information. This new information or stimulus passes through these levels making changes to our complicated processing until it is bloked by one of the levels. It may get blocked because it conflicts or disagrees with the current information within that level or is busy with another agenda. Information continues through these levels affecting each level as it passes to the higher or deeper level. For change to happen at each level we need to make a change at the deeper level than the one we want to make a change at. This process is continuously happening every second, every day as we see, touch, think, feel and hear the world infront of us.
For example, we may hear someone say that we need to train everyday for 4 hours to be a world champion. As we process this information we may accept this in our current ENVIRONMENT and the information may be confirmed by the people around us. It may fit nicely into our BEHAVIOUR and training regime as we already allocate 5 hrs to training every day. We have the skills and COMPETENCIES to endure this training scheme, however, this information may conflict with our BELIEFS. Maybe we have seen another champion only train for 4 hours on only 5 days a week, or maybe we believe it is the intensity of our training, not the quantity that makes the difference.

If we don’t accept this new Information at the BELIEFS and VALUES level, we will never change our COMPETENCIES and BEHAVIOUR to align with this new information for any extended period of time. We may try to train for 4 hours every day, but after a few weeks, if we don’t believe this strategy to be true, this regime will slowly start to fall away.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

Congruency and Flow

Congruency and Flow

Flow

 

Flow has been described as ‘when thoughts and actions are occurring in complete synchronicity’, ‘everything felt right, as if it was destined to be’, ‘every cell in my body was focused on what I was doing, amongst many other similar descriptions. There is little debate that when we are in flow, our mind and body is working as one, everything aligns and we become more powerful, more creative, more efficient, and everything we do seems effortless and easy. In flow we are in total congruency internally and externally with our mind, body and surroundings. Congruency is a powerful force when we see it in action. It helps create a channel for flow, a coming together of parts, aligning all our energy outputs into one channel. When people are congruent with the different aspects of their lives, their energy levels are higher and luck often seems to flow their way.

If we think of it as a car journey, congruency can be far easier to understand. If different aspects of our lives are conflicting, they act as traffic on our journey. If we don’t believe in our goals then it is as if the roads are smaller and narrower. If we have others in our life that don’t agree with what we are doing or adding negativity to our journey, they act as sharp bends and difficult landmarks we need to navigate around often lengthening our journey. If we are going through a troublesome healing process, they act as roadworks on our car journey. If we have many other goals and distractions, then there will be many distracting sign posts and intersections on our journey. If we have a lot of noise in our mind and suppressed emotional energy, they act as bad weather making our journey challenging. And so on. A car journey with traffic, small roads, lots of detours, roadworks, multiple intersections, and bad weather can be a nightmare and make our journey troublesome and difficult to reach our destination, or goal. However, if we have none of the above, we have an empty highway with few restrictions or interruptions allowing us to get to our destination very quickly. When our highway is clear, we have congruency, and may already be in flow.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

Training and Performance

Training and Performance

Flow Sports

 

Training prepares the body for what to expect during competition. If our training lacks the intensity or skill required in our performances, how can we expect oursleves to perform to a higher level when it comes to our performances or competition. If the body has not experienced the intensity or skill before, then it does not know what to replicate when in flow. Training can provide an opportunity for the body to experience doing what needs doing in a more relaxed environment. If we perform a skill, shot, or sequence in training once, then the body has accomplished everything it needs to know to do it again. Physical and mentally the body knows what to do, it has provided the correct coordination, neurological activity, mind body connection, needed for the skill to happen. If we have done it once the mind and body creates a blue print, a source code or manual of how to repeat this skill again. What stops us producing this skill again and again, is the interference or disbelief of the conscious mind.

Repeating the skills over and over, allows the conscious mind to accept the ability of the subconscious, it builds confidence in this connection and stops thinking of the initial action as luck. As we repeat the skills again and again we strengthen the neural pathways in our mind body connection to access this blueprint, helping the conscious mind to continuously build trust that the subconscious can deliver the skill or action at will. Overtime the conscious trusts the subconscious so much to deliver this blueprint, that it seems to let go control and we perform this action or skill seemingly automatically, leading to what many people call ‘muscle memory’.

With this in mind, it seems wise to approach training with a different perspective than the traditional method of repeating a set of skills we require hundreds or thousands of time. If we spent a small percentage of our training time exploring new skills or actions that would improve our performances, we would create many new blueprints of new skills, actions and movements that would increase our ability at a much faster rate.
If we spent a percentage of our training time on building the trust between the conscious and subconscious this would allow us to access these blueprints, we have already created by doing the action once. This training would not only be relevant to this new skill but all new skills and existing skills we have learnt. Added to this the time we save by not focusing on repeating the same skill thousands of times in order to trust the body to deliver, we have a powerful acceleration technique to introduce new skills into our performances.
Dedicating training time to learning new skills and improving the mind body connection, does not mean we don’t have to practice repetition, on the contrary. We can also dedicate a percentage of our training time to repeating the skills we already know, to improve the trust between the conscious and subconscious for times when we find it difficult to let go of the conscious control over our actions, typical when the ego steps in.
The above is simply an example of how introducing even a small percentage of mental training into our standard training regimes can rapidly increase our overall skill level.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

 

Find an anchor you can use to remind your self to have fun and play. Whether it is jumping up and down like a chicken or doing an impression of the cartoon character, Tasmanian devil, find your own meaningful anchor that you can quickly do in 20 seconds or so, that physically and mentally shakes you up, changes your state and gives you a clean canvass to play from.

Its that simple, give it a go!

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.