Exploring the interactions underlying flow states: A connecting analysis of flow occurrence in European Tour golfers

Christian Swann, David Piggott, Lee Crust, Richard KEEGAN, Brian Hemmings

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Research to date has identified a range of factors suggested to facilitate flow states in sport. However, less attention has focused on how exactly those facilitating factors influence the occurrence of flow. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the specific ways in which such facilitators influenced flow occurrence in European Tour golfers. Design: Qualitative design. Method: Ten full-time golfers from the European Tour (M age=37; SD=13.08) participated in semi-structured interviews investigating the occurrence of their flow states. Data were interpreted using an iterative process of thematic and connecting analyses. Results: Ten facilitators of flow were identified, of which commitment and the caddie have not been reported previously. Twenty four connecting links were identified in the data, through which the caddie, effective preparation, and high-quality performance appeared to be most influential for flow occurrence. Confidence and concentration also emerged as key constructs underlying the flow experience in this setting. Conclusion: A central contribution of this study is the identification of ways in which facilitating factors could influence flow occurrence in elite golf. This process adds detail to understanding of flow occurrence, and moves beyond simply identifying factors which are associated with the experience. As such, connecting analysis is proposed as an additional strategy for qualitatively investigating flow occurrence in sport. Results are discussed in relation to previous literature, and recommendations are identified for researchers, athletes, coaches and practitioners.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)60-69
    Number of pages10
    JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
    Issue numberP3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


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