Narrative Practice and its Potential Contribution to Sport Psychology: The Example of Flow

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Exeter
  • 2 Northumbria University
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Narrative practice is an approach that enables researchers to alternately focus on the whats and hows of meaningful social interaction. The potential benefits of utilizing this approach in sport psychology are highlighted by focusing on the area of flow as an exemplar. It is suggested that the majority of work on flow has focused on the whats rather than on the equally important hows of this phenomenon. To illustrate the ways in which a concern for the hows of narrative practice can provide different insights into flow, data are provided from an interview-based study of a white water canoeing club. The findings suggest that describing flow is a relational performance, which is shaped by a number of narrative resources and auspices that operate differently according to gender.

Andrew C. Sparkes is Director of Social Theory and Director of the Qualitative Research Unit in the School of Sport & Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2LU, UK. E-mail: Sarah Partington is with the Division of Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Wynne Jones Center, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK. E-mail:

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