Researchers studying mindfulness and acceptance-based evidence among athletes support a cautious, yet optimistic, view regarding the efficacy of such approaches in the context of sport (e.g., McAlarnen & Longshore, 2017 ; Noetel, Ciarrochi, Van Zanden, & Lonsdale, 2019 ; Sappington & Longshore
Erika D. Van Dyke, Aaron Metzger and Sam J. Zizzi
Steven Love, Lee Kannis-Dymand and Geoff P. Lovell
, enables the unification of action and experience. The concept of mindfulness may play such a role in facilitating flow. This is because high levels of awareness, attentional control and autotelic predispositions are key psychological factors for experiencing flow, and such factors can be developed through
Carol R. Glass, Claire A. Spears, Rokas Perskaudas and Keith A. Kaufman
acceptance of unpleasant internal states ( Gardner & Moore, 2004 , 2007 ; Kaufman, Glass, & Arnkoff, 2009 ), which is a central tenet of mindfulness-based interventions. Mindfulness skills appear especially well-matched to sport performance enhancement. As Gordhamer ( 2014 ) contended, “The benefits of
Trevor Cote, Amy Baltzell and Robert Diehl
Over the past 2 decades, mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in sport have grown from a niche approach to performance excellence into a “mainstream option for sport psychologists across the globe” ( Gardner, 2016 , p. 147). Such interest is based on growing empirical research supporting the
Stuart Cathcart, Matt McGregor and Emma Groundwater
Mindfulness has been found to be related to improved athletic performance and propensity to achieve flow states. The relationship between mindfulness and flow has only recently been examined in elite athletes. To build on this literature, we administered the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Dispositional Flow Scale to 92 elite athletes. Psychometric analyses supported the validity of the FFMQ. Males scored higher than females on the FFMQ facet of Nonjudging of Inner Experience. Athletes from individual and pacing sports scored higher on the FFMQ facet of Observing than athletes from team-based and nonpacing sports. Correlations between mindfulness and flow were stronger in athletes from individual and pacing sports compared with team-based and nonpacing sports. Mindfulness correlated with different facets of flow in males compared with females. The results support the use of the five-facet mindfulness construct in elite athletes and suggest the relationship between mindfulness and flow possibly may vary by gender and sport type in this population.
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.
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.
Nick Mardon, Hugh Richards and Amanda Martindale
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.
Douglas Worthen and James K. Luiselli
Female high school athletes playing volleyball and soccer (N = 32) responded to a social validity questionnaire that inquired about their experiences with a sportfocused mindfulness training program. On average, the student-athletes rated most highly the effects of mindfulness training on emotional awareness and attention focusing, the contribution of mindfulness toward team play, the benefit of having coaches learn mindfulness skills, and the application of mindfulness to other sports. There were dissimilar ratings between the volleyball and soccer student-athletes concerning use of mindfulness when preparing for and during games. Most of the formal mindfulness practices taught during the training program were rated as being helpful to very helpful. We discuss factors influencing these findings and implications for mindfulness–sport performance research.
Henrik Gustafsson, Therése Skoog, Paul Davis, Göran Kenttä and Peter Haberl
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and burnout and whether this relationship is mediated by perceived stress, negative affect, and positive affect in elite junior athletes. Participants were 233 (123 males and 107 females) adolescent athletes, ranging in age from 15–19 years (M = 17.50; SD = 1.08). Bivariate correlations revealed that mindfulness had a significant negative relationship with both perceived stress and burnout. To investigate mediation, we employed nonparametric bootstrapping analyses. These analyses indicated that positive affect fully mediated links between mindfulness and sport devaluation. Further, positive affect and negative affect partially mediated the relationships between mindfulness and physical/emotional exhaustion, as well as between mindfulness and reduced sense of accomplishment. The results point toward mindfulness being negatively related to burnout in athletes and highlight the role of positive affect. Future research should investigate the longitudinal effect of dispositional mindfulness on stress and burnout.