A systematic review of flow training on flow states and performance in elite athletes

Cameron Norsworthy, Paul Gorczynski, Susan A. Jackson

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This systematic review aimed to examine the effects of flow training on flow states and performance outcomes in elite athletes. PRISMA guidelines were employed and a search on SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, SAGE journals online, INGENTA connect, and Google Scholar was completed in December 2015. Six pre-experimental studies using single subject designs and one experimental study, published between 2005 and 2014, found positive effects of psychological interventions improving flow states and performance, with four studies reporting significant or sizeable increases in flow states, and all studies reporting either quantitative or qualitative increases in performance. Interventions included hypnosis, imagery, music, and client-centred pre-performance routines. Further rigorous, experimental research with larger sample sizes is required to establish conclusive relationships between flow states and performance. Research recommendations include interventions matched to theoretical dimensions of flow, and the use of multi-skilled and cognitive restructuring interventions. Furthermore, measures of flow intensity and frequency are advised to determine activity specific requirements, as well as dimensional and global flow scores to further understand how specific interventions are increasing flow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-28
Number of pages13
JournalGraduate Journal of Sport, Exercise & Physical Education Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • flow
  • elite athletes
  • performance
  • review
  • training
  • interventions


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