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.
Maya Trajkovski and Aubrey Newland
Martin Camiré, Camille Sabourin, Eden Gladstone Martin, Laura Martin, and Nicolas Lowe
The COVID-19 pandemic, and associated stay-at-home orders, instigated far-reaching disturbances in the lives of student-athletes, which included school closures and sport cancellations. The purpose of the study was to examine first-hand student-athletes’ pandemic-related experiences with screen time and mental health. A total of 22 Canadian high school student-athletes were individually interviewed in 2021. Interviews occurred online via videoconferencing and were subjected to a reflexive thematic analysis, which led to the creation of three themes: (a) pandemic life is a major grind, (b) screen time during COVID times: I feel guilty, but what else can I do? and (c) mental health during COVID times: mostly pain, but there is a silver lining. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for research and practice as it pertains to formulating endemic initiatives best supporting the many student-athletes confronting the psychosocial aftereffects of having lived through a global pandemic.
Mario S. Fontana, Mary D. Fry, and E. Whitney G. Moore
Athletes have reported that they would experience shame while playing sport, both for their lack of preparation (process shame) and for their poor outcomes (result shame) during competition. The purpose of this study was to explore how motivational climate is related to athletes’ process and result shame. A survey was administered to 259 high-school track and field athletes before a practice 3 weeks into the season. Structural equation modeling showed that a perceived caring and task-involving motivational climate was positively related to athletes’ process shame and negatively related to their result shame. Perceptions of an ego-involving motivational climate were negatively related to athletes’ process shame and positively related to athletes’ result shame. The results highlight that caring and task-involving behaviors in coaches may help mitigate proneness to shame in athletes.
Arash Assar, Robert Weinberg, Rose Marie Ward, and Robin S. Vealey
The purpose of the present investigation was to explore the mediating role of self-compassion on the relation between goal orientation and sport-confidence, as well as exploring whether these factors differed between male and female student-athletes. To that end, a total of 418 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes (M = 20.19, SD = 1.30) completed the Self-Compassion Scale (athlete version), the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire, and the Trait Sport-Confidence Inventory. Structural equation models suggest that task orientation has both a direct effect on sport-confidence and an indirect one through self-compassion. Furthermore, while there was no direct effect between ego orientation and sport-confidence, the results indicated an indirect effect through self-compassion. Moreover, a multigroup analysis indicated that the paths in the mediation model were moderated by gender. Based on these findings, it is recommended that coaches, sport psychologists, and other practitioners consider self-compassion training to enhance confidence among both ego-oriented and female athletes.
Jonathan Lasnier and Natalie Durand-Bush
The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine the impact of an online self-regulation intervention (SI) and mindfulness intervention (MI) in improving exercise-induced-pain (EIP) management, mental performance (i.e., SI and MI), and mental health. A sample of 16 middle-distance runners who participated in an 8-week SI or MI was purposefully selected based on the participants’ high, moderate, and low pre–post intervention evolution scores. Findings, which were generated by performing a codebook thematic analysis, suggest that both the SI and MI positively impacted EIP management, mental performance, and mental health. EIP literacy enabled the participants from both interventions to more effectively manage EIP. Furthermore, screening for mental illness symptoms and referring athletes in a timely manner to appropriate mental health practitioners was perceived as essential for them to receive the care and support they needed. Finally, a hybrid delivery format may be the most effective when providing online sport psychology interventions.
Kirsty Martin and Hee Jung Hong
This paper addresses the contributing factors and effects of athlete burnout in women’s rugby. Current and former top amateur female rugby union players (N = 10, age 19–21 yr) were interviewed regarding their experiences of high-performance rugby and of athlete burnout. Thematic analysis was applied to analyze the data. The findings show that seven players exhibited the three dimensions of burnout: emotional and physical exhaustion, reduced sense of accomplishment, and sport devaluation. Significant antecedents included role conflict, high physical demands, and coaching behaviors that resulted in maladaptive outcomes. The findings were in line with self-determination theory and showed consistencies with previous literature regarding athlete burnout. Meaningful and original findings related to the female rugby setting were also presented and discussed. Therefore, the study provides new insights into female rugby players’ experience of athlete burnout and contributes to the understanding of athlete burnout in the context of women’s rugby, which has been underresearched.
Ellinor Klockare, Luke F. Olsson, Henrik Gustafsson, Carolina Lundqvist, and Andrew P. Hill
The purpose of this study was to explore the views and experiences of sport psychology consultants who have worked with perfectionistic elite athletes and, particularly, their views on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. Semistructured interviews were conducted with four professional sport psychology consultants who identified themselves as having experience of working with athletes they consider to be perfectionistic. Two themes were generated: manifestations of perfectionism and management of perfectionism. The consultants found perfectionistic athletes to have rigid attitudes and strong negative emotional experiences, to use safety behaviors, and to regularly underperform. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques such as mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, and psychological skills training were most commonly used and were largely viewed as effective against a backdrop of sporting environment that could often encourage athletes to be perfectionistic. The findings highlight the complexity of perfectionism from a consultancy perspective and the potential challenges associated with working with perfectionistic athletes.