The Fluid Mechanics of Athletic Performance: Flow State and its Dynamics

Imagine a state where you feel significantly challenged but also that you are excelling. In the athletic world, peak performance is often a result of mental and physical synergy, where athletes become so engrossed in their activity that they enter a state of complete absorption. This state, known as “flow,” has become a subject of fascination for researchers and enthusiasts alike.

1. The Dynamics of Flow

While many recognize the profound effect of flow on performance, its dynamics have been somewhat elusive. A study by Roberta Antonini Philippe and colleagues qualitatively explored the journey of athletes into, within, and out of flow. They identified three phases:

  • Preparation to Enter Flow: Setting the stage.
  • Entry into the Flow State: Immersion begins.
  • Exit from the Flow State: Gradual detachment


While we will not explore these phases in depth in this post, in this immersive experience emotions serve not just as indicators of an athlete’s state of mind, but also as a driving force that facilitates the transition from one phase to another. The way an athlete feels during preparation can profoundly influence their entry into the flow, and similarly, their emotions as they’re deeply engrossed in the activity will determine the ease with which they exit the flow state.

Flow in the Athletic Realm

Delving further into the realm of sports, the concept of flow finds its roots in everyday life experiences as presented by Csikszentmihalyi. However, it wasn’t long before researchers began to investigate its significance in sports. Defined as the optimal state for sports practice, flow is characterized by Vara et. al in the following nine dimensions:

  • Perceived challenges that stretch existing skills.
  • Action-awareness union.
  • Clear goals.
  • Positive feedback.
  • Concentration on the task at hand.
  • A sense of control.
  • Loss of self-consciousness.
  • Distorted time perception.
  • Autotelic experience (performing an action for its inherent pleasure).


These dimensions provide athletes a comprehensive framework to understand their experiences during peak performances. Interestingly, many elite athletes have mentioned experiencing these attributes during their best performances, underlining the validity of these dimensions in a real-world setting.

Temporal Processing & Flow’s Influence on Perception and Cognition

A pivotal link between flow and enhanced performance capabilities lies in its influence on perception. A study by Sinnett et. al exemplifies this by demonstrating how flow impacts spatiotemporal perception and processing. Participants, which included both athletes and musicians, showed improved performance in temporal order judgment tasks after experiencing flow. This indicates that being in a flow state potentially enhances perceptual abilities of time, providing a cognitive edge during high-level performances.

Taking it a step further, it’s intriguing to relate flow states to inhibition which we touched on in our last post you can read here. It’s plausible that when athletes are in flow, their ability to inhibit distractions becomes more pronounced. This sharpened focus, combined with improved spatial and temporal processing capabilities, could be the very essence of why flow states are so sought after in the athletic domain.


The mysterious phenomenon of flow in athletics, although abstract, is beginning to unveil its intricate dynamics through research. As we understand more about its phases, dimensions, and influence on perception, we can better appreciate its significance in peak athletic performances. As athletes and trainers alike aim to consistently achieve this state, the revelations about flow promise to revolutionize training methodologies and redefine performance benchmarks in sports.

At Reflexion, this is a topic we are actively exploring. Reflexion GO, our personalized VR training product, adapts to your abilities to attempt to keep you in a flow state where you feel challenged but also that you are performing well – balancing the emotions to keep you engaged and in a state where you are pushing yourself. As we continue to build out the product this is a concept into which we will delve much further and will likely write more about on this blog. Tell us about your experience reaching flow state. How did you get there?

Achieving Flow: An Exploratory Investigation of Elite College Athletes and Musicians Roberta Antonini Philippe, et al.

Measuring optimal psychological states: Proposal of two brief versions to measure flow and clutch in athletes Alejandro Sánchez Vara, et al.

Flow States and Associated Changes in Spatial and Temporal Processing Scott Sinnett, et al.

Unlocking Cognitive Performance: How NBA Players and Teams Utilize Neuro Training Tools


Neuro training has become an integral part of enhancing cognitive performance among certain NBA players and teams. As the game becomes more competitive, athletes are seeking innovative methods to gain an edge on the court. In this blog post, we will explore how renowned players such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Gordon Hayward utilize specific neuro training tools that focus on distinct and unique aspects of mental performance to elevate their skills. We will then contrast these various approaches to the 2023 NBA Champions, the Denver Nuggets’ team-wide implementation of Reflexion neuro training, ensuring peak cognitive performance and championship success.


  1. LeBron James and Calm Meditation App: LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, harnesses the power of mindfulness through the Calm meditation app. Recognizing the importance of mental well-being, LeBron uses Calm to cultivate a focused and resilient mindset. By practicing meditation and embracing the calming techniques offered by the app, he finds clarity amidst pressure and strengthens his ability to perform during crucial moments on the court. This form of neuro training focuses on the psychological state of the player in order to optimize performance. 
  2. Gordon Hayward and VR: Gordon Hayward, an experienced player who has faced injury challenges in 2018, turned to a VR simulation product for rehabilitation and mental conditioning. Through virtual reality technology, Hayward immersed himself in realistic basketball scenarios, allowing him to visualize his actions and interactions with teammates on the court. This not only aided in physical recovery but also kept his mental state sharp and connected to the game, preventing his basketball IQ from fading during rehab. Hayward’s use of neuro training focused on situational training that emulated the scenarios he would see on the court.
  3. Stephen Curry and Strobe Glasses: Stephen Curry, known for his incredible shooting skills, incorporates strobe glasses into his training routine. These glasses disrupt vision by intermittently blocking the wearer’s sight in all or part of the field of view. By challenging his visual processing and reaction time, Curry’s brain adapts to make quicker decisions with limited visual input. This neuro training tool helps him elevate his performance by training his brain to process information more efficiently even when his vision is momentarily impaired.
  4. Denver Nuggets and Reflexion: The 2023 NBA Champion Denver Nuggets implemented team-wide neuro training in 2022. Led by their strength and conditioning coach, Felipe Eichenberger, the Nuggets prioritize neuro training using alongside physical conditioning in the weight room. Reflexion enables the team to train their brains to be sharper, more focused, and make split-second decisions during high-pressure game situations. This is accomplished by training reaction time, inhibition, prioritization, eye-hand coordination, and tracking with specific drills that improve those skills using Reflexion’s lightboard product, the Edge.

    Eichenberger emphasizes the importance of neuro training “the goal is to decrease the amount of turnovers that they have [and] to know where they have to be when they’re tired.” The Nuggets pair high-intensity exercises, such as sprints and on-court drills, with drills on the Edge to simulate the mental demands of the game just like switching from offense to defense.

    The Nuggets use Reflexion for neuro priming before each game.  They are able to select and customize drills that apply most to each player’s cognitive demands in order to get them in the zone before heading to the court. This holistic approach ensures that every player on the team reaches their peak cognitive performance, reducing turnovers, improving decision-making, and increasing overall team efficiency.




Neuro training has become a vital component of the NBA, empowering players to enhance their cognitive abilities and improve on-court performance. From LeBron James utilizing the Calm meditation app for mental clarity to Stephen Curry incorporating strobe glasses to sharpen his decision-making, and Gordon Hayward using virtual reality for rehabilitation and mental conditioning, these players exemplify the significance of cognitive training tools.

Moreover, the Denver Nuggets’ team-wide adoption of the neuro training with Reflexion showcases the team’s commitment to maximizing cognitive performance. By training their brains alongside physical conditioning, the Nuggets have elevated their gameplay, one of many factors leading to their stunning championship victory. As neuro training continues to revolutionize the NBA, we can expect more teams and players to embrace these innovative tools to gain a competitive edge and achieve greater success on the court.

To learn more about other types of neuro training, check out our blog post: The Different Forms of Neuro Training

Click here to watch our interview with Denver Nuggets Performance Director, Felipe Eichenberger.

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Pilot Research Study: Improving Brain Health with Reflexion and Perth Integrated Health

As we age, our cognitive abilities, coordination, and brain function begin to decline. However, research has shown that cognitive training can help improve brain health, especially for individuals aged 50 to 65 years old. Perth Integrated Health has partnered with Reflexion to conduct a pilot research study aimed at establishing normative data for individuals within this age range, in relation to reaction time, peripheral vision, and object differentiation.

The study aims to investigate how ageing affects cognitive abilities and brain functionality. By participating in this research, individuals within the specified age range can make a significant contribution to improving brain health. This non-invasive research will take only 30 minutes of participants time and will involve using Reflexion as an assessment tool. Participants need to be living in Metropolitan Perth and have no known cognitive or neurological conditions.

The research testing for volunteers will take place from 8th May 2023 to 8th July 2023 at Perth Integrated Health’s Applecross or Balcatta clinics. Participants will automatically be entered into a draw to win a weekend stay for two people at the Hilton Doubletree at Elizabeth Quay.

To participate in the research study, or for more information, please contact lead researchers Jyn or Emma on their following contacts: Jyn at [email protected] or (08) 6245 0637, and Emma at [email protected] or (08) 6187 3693. Alternatively, you can email Research Advisor Ian Wee via [email protected].

At Reflexion, we believe that cognitive training is essential to maintaining and improving brain health. We are proud to partner with Perth Integrated Health to conduct this research study aimed at improving brain health for individuals aged 50 to 65 years old. We hope that this research will shed light on the effects of ageing on cognitive abilities and will pave the way for future research and advancements in the field of brain health.

For those interested in participating, testing will be held at Perth Integrated Health’s Applecross or Balcatta clinics. There is no need to prepare for the test, just arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled timing, and instructions will be given on the day of testing. The study involves doing a total of 3 tests on our touchscreen instrumentation tool, the “Edge”, that target reaction time, peripheral vision, and object differentiation.

We believe that this research will make a significant contribution to the field of brain health and we are excited to see the results of the study. Thank you for your interest in improving brain health with Reflexion and Perth Integrated Health.

Best regards,
Matt Campagna
Founder & CEO

Follow Perth Integrated Health on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perthintegrated

Reflexion, Leader In Cognitive Sports Training, Adds The Ironman Of Indycar, Tony Kanaan, To Advisory Board


You Have to Train Your Eyes. Your Eyes are Not Different than Your Triceps, Your Biceps, or Your Legs.” – Kanaan

LANCASTER, PENN. (Apr. 14, 2021) — Reflexion, the cognitive sports training service that “rewires” the brain to improve athletic performance, today announced that Tony Kanaan, one of INDYCAR racing’s greatest, will be joining the company’s Advisory Board to accelerate the adoption of cognitive sports training in racing and beyond.

“Visual skills, especially for a racecar driver, are so important. When you’re in an oval, going 240 mph, and something happens in front of you, you have to be prepared” said Kanaan.  “Not to react to what is happening 100 feet from you, but what is happening 500 feet from you while you are anticipating what will happen around you. I am excited to join Reflexion because I have been driving Indy cars for the past 25 years and since I was introduced to Reflexion, I have to say I became a better driver.”

Kanaan was first introduced to Reflexion’s cognitive sports training platform, that combines a state-of-the-art touchscreen lightboard powered and cloud-based data analytics, at PitFit Training in Indianapolis, IN.  “Reflexion decreases mistakes and improves visual data processing skills that reduce our drivers’ chance for injury while boosting performance in the car” said Jim Leo, Founder and President of PitFit Training.

Working as part of Reflexion’s Advisory Board, Kanaan will educate athletes of all levels how to incorporate cognitive training into their overall training regimens and will share his own experiences of the successes that he has seen by doing so. This addition is part of a larger effort to make cognitive sports training that has traditionally been employed only by elite athletes much more accessible.

“Reflexion is catalyzing a sea change to bring cognitive sports training to athletes of all levels and we are incredibly privileged to work with some of the world’s greatest competitors like Tony to deliver a world-class experience to athletes at every level” said Reflexion CEO, Matt Campagna. “Additions to our team like this one are a key factor in what sets Reflexion apart from the pack.”

To learn more about Reflexion, its technology and products, visit www.reflexion.co. To see Reflexion in action and to hear from Tony Kanaan, view a case study of Reflexion at PitFit Training here.

About Reflexion

Reflexion is a game-changing cognitive sports training service designed to improve performance in competition. Using a state-of-the-art touchscreen lightboard powered by cloud-based technology and data analytics, Reflexion accelerates and strengthens cognitive processes and skills such as peripheral vision, decision making, reaction time and hand-eye coordination. By tracking individual goals and progress, the cognitive training service delivers tangible improvements in competitive performance for athletes. For additional information, please visit www.reflexion.co

About Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan is known as the Ironman of INDYCAR racing with a record 317 consecutive starts prior to 2021, year that Tony rejoined Chip Ganassi Racing for the oval events. Kanaan’s streak began in June 2001 at Portland before becoming the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner, 2004 NTT INDYCAR Series champion, the first INDYCAR driver to complete every lap of every race during a season (2004), and being voted Most Popular Driver in 2013. Off the track, he is a dedicated runner and cyclist who has competed in numerous triathlon and Ironman competitions, including the Ironman World Championship in 2011. Kanaan’s charitable work also benefits Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN.

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Media Contact:
Matt Campagna
[email protected]
(717) 413-3336

Reflexion, Leader In Cognitive Sports Training, Partners With Evil Geniuses To Enhance Cognitive Performance In Esports


One of the Original and Most Iconic Organizations in Esports Chooses Reflexion to Train Players’ Brains  

LANCASTER, PENN. (Mar. 18, 2021) — Reflexion, the cognitive sports training service that “rewires” the brain to improve athletic performance, today announced that Evil Geniuses, one of the original and most iconic professional esports organizations in the world, has chosen Reflexion to train their players’ brains to enhance visual cognitive performance.

Evil Geniuses will be using Reflexion’s “Edge”, a state-of-the-art two-by-six-foot portable touchscreen lightboard that integrates a series of game-based drills with cloud-based data analytics that track, develop and strengthen neuro-fitness. The system turns peripheral vision, decision making, reaction time and hand-eye coordination into measurable, tangible skills that can be analyzed and enhanced, giving players a competitive edge.

“Visual cognitive training is the next frontier of sports performance” said Matt Campagna, Founder and CEO of Reflexion. “We are unbelievably excited to add Evil Geniuses to the league of elite competitors that train with Reflexion because they understand that nearly everything in sport and in competition starts with your eyes and that cannot be ignored.”

To learn more about Reflexion, its technology and products, visit www.reflexion.co.

About Reflexion

Reflexion is a game-changing cognitive sports training service designed to improve performance in competition. Using a state-of-the-art touchscreen lightboard powered by cloud-based technology and data analytics, Reflexion accelerates and strengthens cognitive processes and skills such as peripheral vision, decision making, reaction time and hand-eye coordination. By tracking individual goals and progress, the cognitive training service delivers tangible improvements in competitive performance for athletes. For additional information, please visit www.reflexion.co.

About‌ ‌Evil‌ ‌Geniuses‌ ‌

Evil‌ ‌Geniuses,‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌original‌ ‌and‌ ‌most‌ ‌recognizable‌ ‌professional‌ ‌organizations‌ ‌in‌ ‌esports,‌ ‌was‌ ‌founded‌ ‌over‌ ‌21‌ ‌years‌ ‌ago‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌belief‌ ‌that‌ ‌passion,‌ ‌commitment,‌ ‌and‌ ‌innovation‌ ‌could‌ ‌transform‌ ‌a‌ ‌beloved‌ ‌interest‌ ‌into‌ ‌a‌ ‌global‌ ‌phenomenon.‌ ‌Today,‌ ‌that‌ ‌same‌ ‌drive‌ ‌and‌ ‌dedication‌ ‌serve‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌foundation‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌legendary‌ ‌organization.‌ ‌From‌ ‌our‌ ‌top-tier‌ ‌esports‌ ‌teams‌ ‌to‌ ‌our‌ ‌industry-changing‌ ‌technology,‌ ‌our‌ ‌goal‌ ‌has‌ ‌always‌ ‌been—and‌ ‌will‌ ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌be—building‌ ‌champions.‌

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Media Contact:
Matt Campagna
[email protected]
(717) 413-3336