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The Art of flow in motorcycle road racing
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Marilyn LewisMarilyn Lewis
Flow is a special psychological state that brings the recipient great enjoyment. It is intrinsically rewarding and has been associated with a better than normal performance. Flow has been called a universal phenomenon in sport and this paper sought to determine if motorcycle road racers experience flow while racing. Qualitative research previously undertaken by the researcher has found that when elite motorcycle riders achieve personal best times and fastest lap times a sense of often long-lasting euphoria ensues. However, this experience was difficult for riders to replicate at will and the best the riders could do was to prepare themselves and their motorcycles and then to hope that a flow experience would occur. The aim of this study was to determine if all motorcycle racers achieve the flow. The Flow State Scale 2 (Jackson & Eklund, 2004) was thus posted to all licensed motorcycle road racers in Australia. Riders scored highly on the global flow construct as well as all subscales with the exception of action awareness and loss of self consciousness. Furthermore, scores from motorcycle road racers indicate a high degree of agreement with statements posed suggesting they were undergoing a substantively "flow-like" experience. Two major findings resulted from this study, the primary importance of the Autotelic dimension to motorcycle road racers; while factor analysis found only eight dimensions instead of the previously reported nine dimensions. It was found that factors in the control dimension loaded onto both the concentration on tasks at hand and challenge-skill dimensions. Importantly, the most important flow dimension for motorcycle road racers was autotelic which describes the intrinsically rewarding experience that flow brings to the individual (Csikzentmihalyi, 1990). Although flow is an experience that riders cannot produce at will, it is nevertheless an important factor which motivates riders to return and engage in a high-risk sport.