The Effect of Mindfulness Training on Attention and Performance in National-Level Swimmers: An Exploratory Investigation

in The Sport Psychologist

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Nick MardonUniversity of Edinburgh

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Hugh RichardsUniversity of Edinburgh

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Amanda MartindaleUniversity of Edinburgh

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This quasi-experimental intervention study investigated the impact of mindfulness training on attention and performance in swimmers. Following an 8-week intervention with six national-level university swimmers (M = 20 years), single case analysis of pre- and post- measurements for three of six participants showed large improvements in mindfulness and attention efficiency. Two participants showed a small increase in one of mindfulness or attention efficiency, and one showed no changes. Four participants improved performance times compared with season-best, and five participants improved self-rated performance. Athletes and coach positively evaluated mindfulness training. This study, with strong ecological validity, shows improvements in mindfulness, attention, and performance, consistent with theory that proposes attention as a mechanism for mindfulness based performance changes. Mindfulness training can be an effective and practical intervention. Further applied research is required utilizing designs to determine causality and further test the proposed mechanisms through which mindfulness may influence performance.

The authors are with the Dept. of Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Nick Mardon at nick_mardon@standardlife.com.
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