All the great ones know about flow…and so do you. Every competitive swimmer has had the magical race. That race is characterized by how easy it feels and how fast it is; how when you finish you are aware of your effort but not devastated by it; and how it seems that you could go even faster.
It is a blessing and a curse. The blessing part is easy to understand. The curse is that many swimmers keep “looking” for that “magic” to show up and get very disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
But you have had the magic in workouts pretty often so long as you totally immerse yourself in the repeat, even just the lap you are on at that specific moment. That total “being present” is so critical…why? Specifically you are being non-judgmental and thus getting out of your own way. You are just doing, just being – in the moment.
Flow comes when the risk is great and the mind is empty, when you are simply focusing on the doing part.
Klay Thompson is an NBA All Star who plays for the Golden State Warriors. In Game 6 of the recent series against Oklahoma (which the Warriors won by winning 3 consecutive elimination games – talk about risk!) Thompson went “off” scoring at will essentially carrying his team into Game 7. This from Thompson about his performance in that 7 game series:
“Believe it or not, I really don’t think about our accomplishments. You’ve just got to go out there, and if you play focused and you play your hardest, that’s all you can do for yourself.”
When he takes a shot he is not thinking about whether or not it will go in and what happens if it does or doesn’t go in. He is simply shooting. And when he misses (they all miss more than they make!) he moves to the next play staying focused and playing his hardest…might be time for you to channel a little – or big – part of his game into yours.