The field of applied sport psychology has traditionally grounded its performance enhancement techniques in the cognitive-behavioral elements of psychological skills training. These interventions typically advocate for controlling one’s cognitive and emotional processes during performance. Mindfulness-based approaches, on the other hand, have recently been introduced and employed more frequently in an effort to encourage athletes to adopt a nonjudgmental acceptance of all thoughts and emotions. Like many applied interventions in sport psychology, however, the body of literature supporting the efficacy of mindfulness-based approaches for performance enhancement is limited, and few efforts have been made to draw evidence-based conclusions from the existing research. The current paper had the purpose of systematically reviewing research on mindfulness-based interventions with athletes to assess (a) the efficacy of these approaches in enhancing sport performance and (b) the methodological quality of research conducted thus far. A comprehensive search of relevant databases, including peer-reviewed and gray literature, yielded 19 total trials (six case studies, two qualitative studies, seven nonrandomized trials, and four randomized trials) in accordance with the inclusion criteria. An assessment tool was used to score studies on the quality of research methodology. While a review of this literature yielded preliminary support for the efficacy of mindfulness-based performance enhancement strategies, the body of research also shows a need for more methodologically rigorous trials.
Ryan Sappington and Kathryn Longshore
Haley Petterson and Bernadette L. Olson
Student athletes experience a variety of stressors from school and social activities, as well as the additional demands of sport participation. Mindfulness-based interventions can help increase mental awareness and acceptance, as well as mitigate negative thoughts and emotions. The use of mindfulness-based interventions may be beneficial for reducing thoughts of stress, injury reduction, and improving overall wellbeing.
Does the use of mindfulness-based interventions for student-athletes aged 13–24 years reduce stress and injury as well as improve overall quality of life?
Summary of Findings:
The literature was searched for studies that investigated the use of mindfulness-based strategies for student-athletes specifically for reducing stress and injury and/or improving quality of life. The literature search returned 8 possible studies related to the clinical question and 3 studies met the inclusion criteria (1 randomized control trial, 2 nonrandomized control cohort studies). All 3 included studies demonstrated overall improved levels of mindfulness among student-athletes after the use of a mindfulness-based intervention. Mindfulness-based interventions had positive effects for reducing negative thoughts and levels of perceived stress. The number of injury occurrences were found to decrease following the integration of a mindfulness-based intervention within an athletic population.
Clinical Bottom Line:
There is sufficient evidence supporting the use of mindfulness-based interventions with student-athletes for increasing mindfulness, managing negative emotions and perceived stress, as well as improving overall well-being. There is also current literature that advocates the use of mindfulness-based interventions for reducing injury, but further research is needed for support.
Strength of Recommendation:
Grade B evidence exists to support that the use of mindfulness-based interventions for student-athletes will reduce stress and improve overall well-being as well as support the possibility that if a student-athlete is more mindful, it may help decrease risk of injury incurred if the student-athlete is under mental stress.
Marjorie Bernier, Emilie Thienot, Emilie Pelosse, and Jean F. Fournier
This article examines the effects and underlying processes of a mindfulness-based intervention through two case studies. A one-season intervention designed according to the mindfulness approach was implemented with young elite figure skaters. Case studies were complemented with different measurement methods: a questionnaire assessing mindfulness skills, percent improvement on competition scores compared with a control group, and interviews with skaters and coaches during the intervention. The two case studies presented demonstrate how the young skaters developed their mindfulness skills and how these skills benefited their performance. They also show the limitations of this intervention type in young populations. Performance improvement and processes underlying the intervention are discussed in light of the results, and new perspectives are provided for adapting them to the particular needs of young athletes.
Audrey G. Evers, Jessica A Somogie, Ian L. Wong, Jennifer D. Allen, and Adolfo G. Cuevas
, mindfulness-based interventions were found to be effective in improving symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder ( Huang et al., 2018 ). Mindfulness-based interventions have emerged as promising strategies for alleviating the burden of stress in college students and student athletes
Chunxiao Li, Ngai Kiu Wong, Raymond K.W. Sum, and Chung Wah Yu
objective according to characteristics of students with ASD and modify a teaching strategy to achieve the objective). Furthermore, our findings provide a preliminary direction to develop a mindfulness-based intervention program for improving preservice PE teachers’ attitudes toward the inclusion of students
Zeljka Vidic, Mark St. Martin, and Richard Oxhandler
This mixed methodology study investigated the effects of a ten session mindfulness-based intervention on a women’s collegiate basketball team’s (n = 13) perceived stress, athletic coping resources, and perceptions of the mindfulness intervention. Quantitative results showed a progressive decrease in stress and an increase in athletic coping skills over the course of the intervention. Qualitative results indicated the mindfulness intervention was beneficial in various aspects of the athletes’ lives in the form of improved awareness, control, focus, presence and relaxation. These results suggest that mindfulness training may be an effective approach in assisting college athletes attain benefits in both sport and life.
John Scott-Hamilton and Nicola S. Schutte
This study examined the role of degree of adherence in a mindfulness-based intervention on mindfulness, flow, sport anxiety, and sport-related pessimistic attributions in athletes. Twelve athletes participated in an 8-week mindfulness intervention which incorporated a mindfulness focus on movement training component. Participants completed baseline and posttest measures of mindfulness, flow, sport anxiety, and sport-related pessimistic attributions, and they filled out daily mindfulness-training logbooks documenting their frequency and duration of mindfulness practice. Participants were identified as either high adherence or low adherence with mindfulness-training based on a composite score of logbook practice records and workshop attendance. Athletes high in adherence, operationalized as following recommended practice of mindfulness exercises, showed significantly greater increases in mindfulness and aspects of flow, and significantly greater decreases in pessimism and anxiety than low adherence athletes. Greater increases in mindfulness from baseline to posttest were associated with greater increases in flow and greater decreases in pessimism. Increases in flow were associated with decreases in somatic anxiety and pessimism.
Collegiate Athletes: Is the Coach-Athlete Relationship a Mediating Factor? Ashley Coker-Cranney * Justine J. Reel * 9 2015 9 3 213 231 10.1123/jcsp.2014-0052 Systematically Reviewing the Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Enhanced Athletic Performance Ryan Sappington * Kathryn Longshore
.1123/tsp.2012-0087 Effects and Underlying Processes of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention With Young Elite Figure Skaters: Two Case Studies Marjorie Bernier * Emilie Thienot * Emilie Pelosse * Jean F. Fournier * 9 2014 28 28 3 3 302 302 315 315 10.1123/tsp.2013-0006 Book and Resource Reviews
Ashley A. Hansen, Joanne E. Perry, John W. Lace, Zachary C. Merz, Taylor L. Montgomery, and Michael J. Ross
) within two commonly used clinical approaches (i.e., psychological skills training [PST] and mindfulness-based interventions; Röthlin, Birrer, et al., 2016 , Röthlin, Horvath, et al., 2016 ). PST is a cognitive-behavioral control-based approach that relates to the introduction, acquisition, and