An exploration of the conditions influencing the occurrence of flow in Irish professional flat-race jockeys

Jackman, Patricia and Fitzpatrick, G. (2013) An exploration of the conditions influencing the occurrence of flow in Irish professional flat-race jockeys. In: British Association of Sport and Exercise Science Annual Conference.

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


Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests that jockeys experience many of the characteristics of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990: Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper and Row)during optimal performance, including inner ecstasy and elation. Based on the unique tactile relationship between horse and rider and the influential role of partner unity on flow, an interesting avenue for the manifestation of flow in jockeys exists.

Purpose: The study sought to explore the conditions influencing the occurrence of flow inprofessional flat-race jockeys. Additionally, it also sought to investigate the impact of winning on flow and subjective performance ratings.

Methods: Ten Irish professional flat-race jockeys (mean age = 27.4, s ± 7.14; mean career length =9.16, s ± 5.9), were interviewed about their experience of flow, and questioned about the conditions which facilitated, inhibited and disrupted the experience, using a semi-structured interview. A questionnaire, featuring the Flow State Scale-2 and Task Evaluation Inventory, was administered to sixteen Irish professional flat-race jockeys subsequent to the conclusion of three races, and answered in relation to the race outcome.

Results: Twelve facilitative, ten inhibitive and eight disruptive conditions were found to influence flow. Antecedents included confidence, focus, the characteristics and performance of the horse, and the relationship between horse and jockey. Winning races exhibited a difference in flow and positive intrinsic motivation (p = .000) versus non-winning races. A positive correlation (p = .000, r = 0.59)existed between flow and positive intrinsic motivation. Discussion: The results suggested that the manifestation of flow in flat-race jockeys exhibits similar influential conditions to other elite athletes, but that unique conditions, such as the idiosyncratic relationship between horse and jockey, affect the realisation and experience of flow in horse-racing.Positive intrinsic motivation and flow were highest for winning races, indicating that race outcome and subjective performance ratings influence flow.Conclusions: The relationship between horse and jockey plays a key role in the occurrence of flow in flat-race jockeys, with particular emphasis on the ability of both parties to influence this connection.Additionally, flow was influenced by race outcome and subjective performance ratings.

Keywords:Sport psychology, Optimal experience
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:37131
Deposited On:02 Oct 2019 09:09

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