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‘The Flow State is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter: Every action, movement and thought flows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, you're using your skills to the utmost and the result is a feeling of spontaneous joy.’ - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Live2Flow is the concept of a man trapped in an unfulfilling career who decided to pursue a life of Flow.  This blog is documents the activities of a man who swapped a desk for the great outdoors, dedicating himself to better his personal performance in his chosen sports and to pursue his passion of coaching and training others; the objective is to literally Live2Flow.  This is not a selfish obsession, Live2Flow aims to take these experiences to others and through passionate coaching and guiding help them experience Flow for themselves.

Justifiably Confident?

Last weekend I found myself doing some low ratio coaching with Wendy and Clare, a couple of whitewater paddlers, and the experience got me thinking.  Although they are both at different stages in their paddling journey, they both described themselves as lacking confidence and this was manifesting itself in their paddling performance and, more importantly to them, how they felt during paddling.

Confidence is a fragile, transitional thing.  One minute you can be full of it, the next it has slipped away completely leaving nothing but emptiness and doubt.  Either of these extremes can lead to poor decision making and subsequent outcomes, and relying on this emotion to perform can be troublesome.  I have certainly experienced both ends of the confidence spectrum over the years but during this time have developed coping techniques that now help me remain grounded in the middle between these outer limits.

The problem with confidence related performance is that it is inconsistent and fluctuates in a manner that is often outside the control of the performer.  High confidence can lead to pushing too far beyond your comfort, and capability, zone resulting in failure and often injury, whereas low confidence can see the unwarranted shrinking of your comfort zone until it reflects only a fraction of your actual capabilities.  There is of course a place for confidence, but as an emotional response it is much better constrained to a role within an evidence based approach to your sporting capability.

Many coaches will be familiar with breaking down a performance into the four components often referred to as TTPP, which can be summarized in brief as;

Tactical – How can I go about achieving my aim?  What is the plan?

Technical – Do I have the skillset to complete the plan?  Am I competent enough?

Physical – Is the task within my physical capabilities? Do I have the strength/stamina?

Psychological – Do I believe I can do it? Am I focused?

I firmly believe that in sporting performance, and in fact all walks of life, the first and the last of these can have the most critical of interactions; having a plan that you can believe in is enormously settling on your mental state in virtually all scenarios.  Addressing this simple interaction of planning your next move before making a move at all can often have a hugely stabilising affect on your emotions.

Over the weekend we discussed these aspects and put them into practice to great success, particularly concentrating on breaking rapids down, understanding action and reaction, forming a plan and identifying the key moves required to execute that plan.  Perfect examples of Wendy and Clare performing this are shown in the short video here, where in each instance the rapid had been scouted, a line had been selected and discussed and they got back into their boats and performed.  These planning exercises were complimented with some plain old traditional 'reduce the angle of your bow' and 'you need more edge' type instruction but this technical input was rarely needed as these ladies could paddle well, they simply needed to find a way to believe this and so perform consistently.

Proof is in the pudding but it is noteworthy that both Wendy and Clare said they felt happier and more at ease getting on the river on the second day even though water levels were higher.  By the end of the weekend both were doing unprompted surfing and ferrying practice on a fast narrow shoot whilst I watched on admiring their rediscovered confidence and independence; given a stronger foundation and a few tools to manage it, hopefully it is here to stay this time.

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Live2Flow is available for low ratio personal coaching and bespoke BCU Star Award training.  Contact him using any of the options here.

 

Created on 17-Feb-2013 at 21:09