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Discussion: Which kind of exercices do you usually do for the "flow" ?

in: TGIF

Apr 8, 2016 8:26 AM # 
Hi Thierry !

I enjoy analyse our orienteering training, and thanks for show us what you do because i had progress a lot thanks to you.

I'm really impressed by your flow when you run !

Could you tell me what sort of exercises do you do to training your flow please ?

Thank you and good luck for your futur races !! :)
Apr 9, 2016 7:58 PM # 
Thanks for your message and an interesting question. I will not start writing my book tonight, but here comes a quick and very uncomplete answer.

There is a lot to say about the flow especially in orienteering. I don´t like so much this word by the way, because you can put a lot too much things behind it. But, for me, it has always been the consequence of different acts. It is not coming by luck, it is usually the result of a high concentration, and a high map reading frequency. But, in fact, it has a lot more to see with the "situational awareness". Which basically means that your level of focus should exactly match with the situation. If your focus is super high when you are running along a track for 1km, it won´t affect much the output. But if you are not fully in the present moment when you are attacking a tricky control, the risk of failing is high.

All this to say, I don´t think there is a specific training to train “the flow”, every training is an opportunity to improve your own “awareness”.

This being said, it is interesting to get inspired by different sports, and when it comes to the flow, it is probably in tennis game that this state of mind has been the most described and analysed. Watching a Sampras, a Federer in their best years or a Djokovic nowadays in action says more than a long speech. But here comes an interesting page. If you change the words “point” or “shot” by “leg” or “navigation”, there are a lot of similarities with orienteering.

10 Ways to Enter the Zone

1. Challenge and skills

The player in the zone does not perceive his opponent as a threat. Instead, the player perceives the opponent as a challenge and uses his skills to overcome this challenge. A tennis match becomes a problem solving task and the player is focused only on finding the solutions.

2. Focus on the process and not on the outcome
The outcome-hitting the ball in, winning a point, winning a match, reaching the finals- is not within your control. If you focus on the outcome, you will become anxious since deep inside you know that you cannot guarantee the result. Being anxious only worsens your ability to play good tennis. That's why you need to focus on the process that is within your control; direct all of your attention toward the ball and what you want to do with it.

3. Having a clear goal and being decisive

The opposite of being decisive is being indecisive, which means that you don't have a clear goal. A player in the zone does not change his mind and does not doubt his decisions. Whatever decision comes to mind, he sticks with it, trusts it, and goes with it.

4. Seeing every shot as feedback

A player in the zone does not judge his shots as good or bad. He sees them only as feedback to indicate whether he needs to keep doing what's working or make slight adjustments. Judgment immediately triggers emotions, which break the flow and the zone state.

5. Being here and now

Another characteristic of being in the zone is having no sense of the past or future. The player is immersed in "the now". This allows him to use all of his brain capacity for solving the problem in the moment without distracting thoughts about the past and future.

6. Belief in your abilities

When a player enters the zone, he doesn't doubt his shots. As soon as he decides what kind of shot to play (which in the zone happens automatically and very fast), he focuses on the execution and does not stop to think about whether or not this shot is too difficult to make.

7. Playing point by point

A player in the zone is focused on the "here and now" (see drill #5), and thus, is playing each point separately from the total score. He doesn't care whether it is 5:1 ahead or 0:4 behind, he gives 100% effort for every point he plays.

8. No ego.

Ego-based motivation can be described as external motivation-where external rewards or threats motivate the player to compete. Ego-oriented motivation would be, for example, showing superior ability, beating others, earning money with winning, and becoming famous. Egoless motivation is when there are internal rewards for the player: mastering the sport, seeing a tennis match as a series of tasks (and challenges) that need to be overcome with one's own skills, personal improvement, and giving 100% effort. When a player plays in the zone, he typically experiences every situation as a challenging problem and focuses on solving this problem. It's not about beating your opponent; it's about solving the problem that your opponent presents to you. If you solve the problem, then the consequence will be the result you are looking for-the key is not to focus on this result when you play.

9. Effortless play and breathing

The player in the zone feels as if every movement is effortless and his breathing reflects that. The player is not out of breath, and when he moves and hits the ball, his body feels elastic, full of energy, and free of tension. Your goal to is to recreate this feeling of no tension and effortless breathing in practice as much as possible so that your body and mind get used to it.

10. Enjoyment of play

One of the most important aspects of the zone is the feeling of enjoyment. The zone cannot be achieved if the player is experiencing stress and anxiety. The joy of playing the sport for no external rewards is the key

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