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The purposes of the current study were to examine (a) the differences in Flow State Scale (FSS) subscales between the 4 experiential states of the orthogonal model (apathy, anxiety, relaxation, and flow), (b) the relationship between challenge, skills, and flow experience; and (c) the relationship between flow experience and athletes’ performance. Two hundred twenty athletes volunteered to participate in this study. Challenge of the game and skills of the athlete were measured before and after competition. Thirty minutes after the competition, the FSS was used to measure flow experience. In addition, subjective and objective measures of athletes’ performance were assessed. Athletes in the flow and relaxation states revealed the most optimal states, whereas the athletes in the apathy state showed the least optimal state. There were positive associations between athletes’ flow experience and their performance measures, indicating that positive emotional states are related to elevated levels of performance. On the other hand, there were low or no correlations between athletes’ performance and reported challenge of the game, whereas skills of the athlete were moderately correlated with flow. Multiple-regression analysis demonstrated significant prediction of athletes’ performance based on flow experience during competition. Future research should examine the relationship between flow, athletes’ performance, and additional dispositional and state variables.
Stavrou, Zervas, and Karteroliotis are with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Athens, Greece. Jackson is with the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Australia.