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On my high school basketball team, I was a four-year varsity letter winner, three-years starter, earned conference, district, and regional honors, and led the team in scoring two of my four years. However, I feel that my performance was dramatically impacted in a negative manner because of the psychic entropy I had to manage on account of my coach’s behavior. At the very least, my enjoyment of my high school basketball experience was significantly impaired. My coach would frequently attempt to confine me to a role-player position, play a style of basketball
Thacker 7that was conflicted with the style of play that the team and I enjoyed and performed well in, and benched players immediately for behavior inconsistent with his inflexible game plan: taking shots he felt were not supposed to be taken, minor turnovers, and sometimes even for scoring toomuch and too frequently. Moreover, he placed so little faith in the players on our team and benched players for minor mistakes or deviations from the game plan that he created an environment where individual players either played in fear of losing playing time or played erratically to spite him instead of to enjoy the game and perform well. In retrospect, I should have had a more disciplined control over my consciousness, utilized that order to set goals that would help resolve the problems with my coach, and then focus intently on accomplishing that task. In fact, I could have made a flow experience out of navigating the social dynamics of the situation. The best advice I think an athlete can be given when attempting to deal with sources of psychic entropy should be to attempt to reframe the problem as a game-like challenge that can besurmounted with the right strategy, effort, and skill. If problematic situations are reframed in this manner, it will create an opportunity for several dimensions of flow to take hold in an individual’s consciousness: challenge-skill balance, goal setting, immediate feedback, and the merge of action and awareness. The advice is essentially to try to make problematic situations into games. This will begin to lead to flow experiences and better performances. Though it is important to recognize that reframing might not immediately solve the problem, which makes perseverance even more important. Csikszentmihalyi also offers a helpful method for “transform[ing] a hopeless situation into a new flow activity” and allow an athlete to “emerge strong from the ordeal” (Csikszentmihalyi 203). There are three main steps to Csikszentmihalyi’smethod: “unselfconscious self-assurance,” “focusing attention on the world,” and “the discovery
Thacker 8of new solutions” (Csikszentmihalyi 203-207). By unselfconscious self-assurance Csikszentmihalyi means trying “to do [one’s] best with the system in which [one] must operate,” and recognizing “that one’s goals may have to be subordinated to a greater entity and that to succeed one may have to play by a different set of rules from what one would prefer” (Csikszentmihalyi 204). By “focusing attention on the world,” Csikszentmihalyi means to direct