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Although mindfulness has been suggested as a means to improve athletes’ performance, few studies have connected changes in mindfulness with improved performance. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of an exploratory mindfulness intervention (MI) on performance using a mixed methods design. Thirty-four female National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) soccer athletes participated in a 12-week MI. Using the Mindfulness Inventory for Sport, athletic performance and self-perceived ability during the first three games of the season compared to the final three games of the season (August–November 2019) were analyzed using paired t tests. Postintervention focus groups explored athletes’ perceptions of the MI on performance. Mindfulness, shots per game, and self-perceived athletic ability increased after the MI. Six themes emerged from the focus groups: awareness, increased focus, letting-go mentality, skill acquisition, self-compassion, and team cohesion. Coaches and sport psychology practitioners may consider implementing similar MI to improve performance and overall athletic experiences.
Trajkovski (firstname.lastname@example.org) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4630-3854