Heart Rate Variability (HRV) technology enables practitioners to analyze the physiological effects of stress. High levels of HRV are associated with improved stress management and sport performance. This study examined the effectiveness of athletes’ (N = 20 collegiate male soccer players) existing mental strategies in maintaining high HRV following three separate stressors. A brief (12-minute) athlete-specific adaptation of a physiological assessment protocol was administered to all athletes. Findings suggest that athletes significantly improved HRV following a cognitive and sport-specific stressor (p < .05); however, athletes were unable to increase HRV following a physical stressor (p > .05). Results suggest athletes were less equipped to cope with physical pain. The process of providing assessment feedback to coaches and athletes is discussed. Finally, clinical and research applications for this brief assessment are introduced and explored.
Joanne Perry, Ashley Hansen, Michael Ross, Taylor Montgomery, and Jeremiah Weinstock
Joanne E. Perry, Michael Ross, Jeremiah Weinstock, and Terri Weaver
Research has supported mindfulness as a predictor of athletic success. This study used a parallel trial design to examine the benefit of a brief one-session mindfulness training for performance on an individual, nonpacing, closed skill athletic task (i.e., golf putting). All participants (N = 65) answered questionnaires and engaged in two trials of the putting task. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group using a simple randomization strategy. Between trials, the intervention group received a mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness intervention included psychoeducation, reflection upon previous sport experiences, an experiential exercise, and putting applications. Repeated-measures ANOVAs demonstrated that the intervention group exhibited more successful outcomes on objective putting performance, flow state experience, and state anxiety (p < .05). Results suggest mindfulness may prevent performance deterioration and could produce psychological benefits after a brief training session.