The construct of mindfulness appears to be compatible with theories of flow and peak performance in sport. The present study assessed how Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE), a new 4-week program, affected flow states, performance, and psychological characteristics of 11 archers and 21 golfers from the community. Participants completed trait measures of anxiety, perfectionism, thought disruption, confidence, mindfulness, and flow. They additionally provided data on their performances and state levels of mindfulness and flow. Analyses revealed that some significant changes in dimensions of the trait variables occurred during the training. Levels of state flow attained by the athletes also increased between the first and final sessions. The findings suggest that MSPE is a promising intervention to enhance flow, mindfulness, and aspects of sport confidence. An expanded workshop to allot more time for mindfulness practice is recommended for future studies.
Evaluation of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE): A New Approach to Promote Flow in Athletes
Keith A. Kaufman, Carol R. Glass, and Diane B. Arnkoff
Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement: Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mental Training Program With Collegiate Athletes
Carol R. Glass, Claire A. Spears, Rokas Perskaudas, and Keith A. Kaufman
College is a stressful time for many students, including student-athletes, who may benefit from mindfulness interventions focusing on present-moment awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance. Mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) has shown promise in previous open trials for promoting both athlete well-being and psychological factors related to sport performance, and this first randomized controlled trial of MSPE was conducted with mixed-sport groups of 52 NCAA Division III student-athletes. Each of the six sessions included educational, discussion-based, experiential, and home practice components, with meditation exercises progressing from sedentary mindfulness to mindfulness in motion. Whereas wait-list controls showed significant increases in depressive symptoms, those who received MSPE evidenced non-significant reductions in depressive symptoms over the course of treatment. Furthermore, once controls had also received MSPE, treatment completers (the 41% who attended at least five of six MSPE sessions) demonstrated significant increases in flow, trait mindfulness, satisfaction with life, and self-rated sport performance, along with reductions in worry, with medium to large effect sizes. There were no significant changes for treatment completers from post-treatment to 6-month follow-up, suggesting that improvements were maintained over time.
Mindfulness for Long-Distance Runners: An Open Trial Using Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE)
Lillian A. De Petrillo, Keith A. Kaufman, Carol R. Glass, and Diane B. Arnkoff
The present study sought to determine the effects of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) on runners. Participants were 25 recreational long-distance runners openly assigned to either the 4-week intervention or to a waiting-list control group, which later received the same program. Results indicate that the MSPE group showed significantly more improvement in organizational demands (an aspect of perfectionism) compared with controls. Analyses of pre- to postworkshop change found a significant increase in state mindfulness and trait awareness and decreases in sport-related worries, personal standards perfectionism, and parental criticism. No improvements in actual running performance were found. Regression analyses revealed that higher ratings of expectations and credibility of the workshop were associated with lower postworkshop perfectionism, more years running predicted higher ratings of perfectionism, and more life stressors predicted lower levels of worry. Findings suggest that MSPE may be a useful mental training intervention for improving mindfulness, sport-anxiety related worry, and aspects of perfectionism in long-distance runners.
Self- and Team-Efficacy Beliefs of Rowers and Their Relation to Mindfulness and Flow
Timothy R. Pineau, Carol R. Glass, Keith A. Kaufman, and Darren R. Bernal
The present study explored self- and team-efficacy beliefs in rowers, examining the relations between efficacy beliefs, mindfulness, and flow. Fifty-eight rowers from nine teams completed sport-specific measures of self- and team-efficacy, along with questionnaires assessing mindfulness, flow, sport anxiety, and sport confidence. Self- and team-efficacy were significantly related to mindfulness, dispositional flow, and sport confidence. In addition, both self-efficacy and sport confidence mediated the association between both total mindfulness (and the describe dimension of mindfulness) and the challenge-skill balance dimension of flow. These results provide indirect support for a proposed model, which suggests that mindfulness may positively impact the integral challenge-skill balance aspect of flow in athletes through self-efficacy.
Collegiate Athletes’ Expectations and Experiences With Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement
Erin G. Mistretta, Carol R. Glass, Claire A. Spears, Rokas Perskaudas, Keith A. Kaufman, and Dennis Hoyer
Although mindfulness training for athletes is an area of increasing interest, few studies have focused on the qualitative experiences of athletes in such programs. Before beginning six sessions of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) training, 45 mixed-sport collegiate athletes reported what they hoped and expected to get from the training, and responded afterward to open-ended questions about their experiences. Participants’ responses were coded for themes, with high interrater reliability. Athletes initially hoped to gain psychological benefits in both sport and everyday life, such as relaxation and less stress or anxiety, better emotion regulation, mental toughness, and self-awareness, as well as sport performance improvement. Overall, they found MSPE to be a positive experience and reported many of the same benefits that they expected. Participants also provided constructive feedback and recommendations for future MSPE training. Finally, there was evidence to suggest that athletes’ expectations predicted similar improvements in outcome measures.
One Year Follow-Up of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) With Archers, Golfers, and Runners
Rachel W. Thompson, Keith A. Kaufman, Lilian A. De Petrillo, Carol R. Glass, and Diane B. Arnkoff
The purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate the long-term effects of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE), a program designed to improve athletic performance and psychological aspects of sport. One-year follow-up assessments were conducted on archers, golfers, and long-distance runners (N = 25) who attended Kaufman, Glass, and Arnkoff’s (2009) and De Petrillo, Kaufman, Glass, and Arnkoff’s (2009) MSPE workshops. Across the athlete groups, participants reported significant increases in the ability to act with awareness (an aspect of trait mindfulness) and overall trait mindfulness from pretest to follow-up, along with significant decreases in task-related worries and task-irrelevant thoughts (both aspects of cognitive interference during sport). The long-distance runners exhibited significant improvement in their mile times from pretest to follow-up, with significant correlations between change in runners’ performance and trait variables. Results suggest that MSPE is a promising intervention associated with long-term changes in trait variables that may contribute to optimal athletic performance.