Mindfulness in Sport: An Intervention for a Choking-Susceptible Athlete

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Although antecedents of choking under pressure have been studied, prevention efforts have been somewhat inconsistent. Current choking-susceptibility criteria include trait anxiety (TA), self-consciousness (SC), and coping style. In the present case study, a college track-and-field athlete was self-identified as choking susceptible (CS), and a sport-specific mindfulness intervention to reduce levels of TA, SC, and alter coping to reduce choking susceptibility was implemented. The athlete identified as CS completed the 6-wk Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) program. Trait and state mindfulness were assessed throughout the program, with a follow-up 6 wk postintervention to gain further insight into the continuing effects of the mindfulness training. Visual analysis and quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated increases in mindfulness levels and changes in TA, SC, and coping, resulting in the participant’s failing to meet the choking-susceptibility criteria postintervention, indicating a reduced likelihood of choking in future performances. Enhanced mindfulness levels promoted greater awareness and acceptance, which may help counter the negative effects of stressful sport performances.

The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health, Miami University, Oxford, OH.

Weinberg (weinber@miamioh.edu) is corresponding author.
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