Examining Anxiety in Early Specialization Athletes: Mindfulness Interventions to Improve Anxiety Management in Competition
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Type of Work38 pages
Action Research Papers
ProgramMasters of Education
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Early Specialized Athletes
Stress and Anxiety
Education -- Research papers (Graduate).
This research sought to find information about anxiety levels in early specialization athletes and to determine if mindfulness interventions can improve how athletes manage their anxiety during competition. It was predicted that after using mindfulness interventions, participant athletes would feel less anxiety during high-pressure situations. The Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Pre/Post Mindfulness Intervention survey were used to assess anxiety levels based on three trait categories: somatic, worry, and concentration disruption. A review of literature suggested that using mindfulness interventions can help regulate emotions and yield positive effects in sport, social, and academic settings. The researcher used mindfulness interventions at the beginning, middle and end of each of six total soccer practice sessions with eight participants with relatively competitive sport experiences, primarily focused on soccer. A paired samples t-test indicated that the athletes’ reported stress levels (SAS scores) were significantly lower after they participated in mindfulness activities during training sessions (t = 3.362, p <. 012). Therefore the null hypothesis was rejected. Pre- and post-intervention total SAS scores were also noted to correlate statistically significantly and positively, indicating there was a high degree of association between participant’s relative positions on the pre and post SAS score distributions (r=.758, p < .029) The small sample size and virtual nature of the competitive environments created by the researcher may have impacted results. Future research should examine more specifically how single or multi-sport experiences and types of competitive environments impact the efficacy of mindfulness interventions for reducing athletes’ anxiety levels.