Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Mindfulness and Acceptance Models in Sport Psychology: A Decade of Basic and Applied Scientific Advancements

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Mindfulness and Acceptance Models in Sport Psychology: A Decade of Basic and Applied Scientific Advancements

Article excerpt

It has been over a decade since the mindfulness and acceptance-based practice models that were originally developed within the mainstream clinical psychology domain were first applied in the sport context in order to enhance the athletic performance and overall psychological and general well-being of competitive athletes. Since that time, as mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions gained empirical support for the treatment of a broad range of clinical syndromes and difficulties, numerous important theoretical and empirical developments have also added to the scientific base for these procedures with athletic clientele and have provided some empirical support for the use of these theoretical models and associated intervention procedures. Thus, the present article retraces the past 11 years to provide a comprehensive update on the state-of-the-science with respect to the use of mindfulness and acceptancebased interventions for the purpose of enhanced athletic performance. The article sequentially discusses the theoretical development of these procedures for use with athletic clientele, provides an overview of the empirical research in both basic and applied science with respect to mechanisms of action and intervention efficacy, and suggests future research directions that may aid in the evolution of this approach.

Keywords: mindfulness, acceptance, mindfulness-acceptance-commitment, sport psychology, performance enhancement

It has now been more than a decade since mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions were proposed for the purpose of enhanced athletic performance and overall psychological and general well-being of athletic clientele (Moore & Gardner, 2001). Since then, theoretical and empirical developments have added to the knowledge base and have built a scientific foundation for the use of these models and procedures. The current article looks back over the past 1 1 years and provides a comprehensive update on the state-of-the-science with respect to the use of mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions for the purpose of athletic performance enhancement. The article begins with a discussion of the theoretical development of these procedures for use with athletic populations, follows with a discussion of empirical research in both basic and applied science with respect to mechanisms of action and intervention efficacy, and highlights future research directions that may prove fruitful in the evolution of this approach.

Development of Mindfulness and Acceptance Models

Over the last decade, based on contemporary research in clinical psychology and the emotion sciences that has challenged the notion that internal experiences (such as cognitions, emotions, and physiological sensations) need to be controlled or lessened in order to enhance psychological functioning (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999), mindfulness and acceptance-based models have been developed for the enhancement of performance with competitive athletes (Gardner & Moore, 2004; Moore & Gardner, 2001) just as they have with clients presenting with a broad range of clinical syndromes and difficulties (Fairholme, Boisseau, Ellard, Ehrenreich, & Barlow, 2010). The primary focus of mindfulness and acceptance-based models is to promote a modified relationship with internal experiences (i.e., cognitions, emotions, and physiological sensations), rather than seeking to change their form or frequency (Gardner & Moore, 2007). In direct contrast to the traditional control-based psychological skills training model developed by Meichenbaum (1977) more than 35 years ago, which views the attainment of an optimal internal state as necessary for peak athletic performance, the foundation of mindfulness and acceptance-based models suggests an essentially opposite perspective. The mindfulness and acceptance-based models suggest that optimal performance does not require the reduction or volitional control of internal states at all, but rather, requires (a) a nonjudging (i. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.