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Peak performance in sports is a rare personal moment that remains etched in the athlete's consciousness. It serves as a reminder of the great intrinsic satisfaction that sports participation can provide. Peak experiences during an athlete's career are relatively rare but their intensity acts as a standard, or qualitative reference point, for subjectively evaluating future performance.
Characteristics of an athlete's peak experience: focused awareness; complete control of self and environment; transcendence of self.
Here are a couple of world class athlete's take on peak experience.
from Tennis great Billy Jean King
"It's a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility. When it happens I want to stop the tennis match and grab the microphone and yell...'this is what's it all about'...because it is!! It's not the big prize I'm going to win at the end of the match or anything else. It's just having done something that's totally pure and having experienced the perfect emotion. I'm always sad that I can't communicate that feeling right at the moment it's happening. I can only hope people realize what's going on."
from Russian Weightlifting great Yuri Vlasco
"At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort, while the blood is pounding in your head, all suddenly becomes quiet within you. Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on. At that moment you have the conviction that you contain all of the power in the world, that you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precious moment in life than this....the white moment and you will work very hard for years just to taste it again."