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

Jackman, Patricia, Fitzpatrick, G and Lane, A (2014) An exploration of the conditions influencing the occurrence of flow in Irish professional jockeys. In: International Conference for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise.

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


Flow is an intrinsically rewarding psychological state associated with an enhanced state of consciousness and the unification of body and mind. Little is known about the manifestation of this state in an equine sport, which features an atypical inter-species partnership comprising a human-horse dyad. Jockeys often refer to the highly pleasurable experience of racing performance and allude to characteristics resembling the flow state. The study sought to explore the conditions which facilitate, inhibit and disrupt the occurrence of flow in professional National Hunt and Flat jockeys. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight professional Flat jockeys and eight professional National Hunt jockeys regarding their experience of flow in horse racing. Content analysis revealed that conditions similar to those in previous studies with elite athletes emerged, including performance feedback, focus, arousal, motivation, confidence, situational and environmental conditions, trainer/owner interaction, physical readiness, preparation and experience. However, two unique conditions also emerged, entitled ‘relationship between horse and jockey’ and ‘horse demeanor and performance’. Findings revealed that conditions found in previous flow research were echoed in this population, although unique raw data themes and higher order themes were uncovered. The optimal horse-jockey relationship was created through the fusion of conditions pertaining independently to horse and rider, and that this reciprocal relationship can be influenced by both horse and rider. Jockeys referred to the importance of an optimal relationship between horse and jockey during states, which substantiates the assertion that rare and treasured moments in horse riding involve the sudden synchrony of horse and rider.

Keywords:sport psychology, optimal experience
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:37132
Deposited On:02 Oct 2019 09:09

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