A connecting analysis of flow occurrence in elite golfers

Swann, Christian, Piggott, David, Crust, Lee , Keegan, Richard and Hemmings, Brian (2014) A connecting analysis of flow occurrence in elite golfers. In: 4th International Conference on Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 1-3 September 2014, Loughborough University.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


In sport psychology, flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2002) is an intrinsically rewarding state in
which individuals perceive a balance between challenge and skills, concentrate fully, and
perform in an effortless manner. Flow is associated with peak performance and therefore
highly desirable for athletes, particularly at the elite level. Yet despite considerable
research flow remains rare, elusive, and unpredictable. To date, qualitative studies have used thematic analysis to identify a range of factors perceived to facilitate flow occurrence
in sport. However, there has been much less focus on describing the specific ways in which
those factors influence flow. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to employ
connecting analysis (Maxwell, 2012) to explicitly search for links or connections between
themes in the data, and explore specifically how such facilitators influence the occurrence
of flow. Nine elite golfers (Mean age = 37, SD = 13.8) were interviewed about the factors
they perceived to facilitate flow, and the specific ways in which they influenced its
occurrence. Data were analysed using an iterative process of thematic and connecting
analyses. Ten facilitators emerged, of which commitment, and the caddie, have not been
suggested previously. 24 connections were identified between themes, through which the
caddie, effective preparation, and high-quality performance appeared most influential,
while confidence and concentration seemed to be key constructs underlying the flow
experience. Findings also suggested a relationship between flow and mental toughness, for
which further investigation is warranted. Connecting analysis is discussed as an additional
strategy for qualitatively investigating flow occurrence in sport.

Keywords:Physical activity, Sociology, Golf
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:15093
Deposited On:27 Sep 2014 20:37

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