Flow and performance: A study among talented Dutch soccer players

Arnold B. Bakker, Wido Oerlemans, Evangelia Demerouti, Bart Bruins Slot, Donovan Karamat Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The present study examines the relationship between environmental resources (autonomy, social support from the coach, and performance feedback), flow, and performance among young talented soccer players. Design: The design was non-experimental and involved both self- and coach-rated reports of environmental resources, flow experiences, and performance. Method: Both soccer players (N=398) and coaches of 45 talented soccer teams in The Netherlands filled out a questionnaire. Soccer players answered questions about environmental resources, flow and performance during a particular match. In addition, coaches rated the performance of every player in the team during the same match. Results: Results of multilevel analyses showed that flow at the team level is higher when the match results in a draw or win than when the match results in loss. Moreover, environmental resources and particularly performance feedback and support from the coach predicted flow during the soccer game, which, in turn, was positively related to self- and coach-ratings of performance. Conclusions: The findings support the flow literature and the input-process-output model of team performance, and they indicate that common-method variance cannot account for the finding that the environment of soccer players facilitates flow and indirectly performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-450
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomy
  • Flow
  • Performance
  • Performance feedback
  • Soccer
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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