Mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Acceptance Commitment (MAC) are gaining momentum with sport psychology practitioners who work to support elite athletes. These acceptance-based, or third wave, cognitive behavioral approaches in sport psychology highlight that thought suppression and control techniques can trigger a metacognitive scanning process, and that excessive cognitive activity and task-irrelevant focus (self-focused attention such as trying to change thoughts) disrupts performance.
Using this perspective, the aim of sport psychology interventions is not to help the athletes engage in the futile task of managing and controlling internal life. Rather, it suggests that sport psychology practitioners should work to increase athletes’ willingness to accept negative thoughts and emotions in pursuit of valued ends. Key aspects of such interventions include: teaching athletes to open up and accept, teaching athletes to mindfully engage in the present moment, and helping athletes formulate the values and engage in committed actions towards these values.
The goal of Mindfulness and Acceptance in Sport: How to Help Athletes Perform and Thrive under Pressure then is to provide students, researchers, practitioners, and coaches of sport psychology with practical guidance for implementing mindfulness and acceptance approaches in their work with athletes. This book brings together highly experienced practitioners and shares their working methods, exercises, and cases to inspire the sport psychology profession.
Table of Contents
1. Mindfulness and Acceptance Approaches: Do They Have a Place in Elite Sport?
Kristoffer Henriksen, Peter Haberl, Amy Baltzell, Jakob Hansen, Daniel Birrer, and Carsten Hvid Larsen
Section I: How to Work with the Key Processes of Mindfulness and Acceptance in Elite Sport
2. Helping Athletes Make Good Decisions through The Sport Lifeline and Functional Analysis
Gustaf Reinebo, Kristoffer Henriksen and Tobias Lundgren
3. Helping Athletes Clarify their Values and Become Grounded in Their Sport Venture
Carsten Hvid Larsen, Gustaf Reinebo and Tobias Lundgren
4. Helping Athletes be Present when Performing under Pressure
Jakob Hansen and Peter Haberl
5. Helping Athletes Defuse and Accept: Thoughts and Emotions Are Not the Enemies
Daniel Birrer, Greg Diment, and Olivier Schmid
6. Helping Athletes Commit to Action: Cold Feet, Crying Babies, and Early Morning Training
Mark W. Aoyagi and Jessica D. Bartley
Section II: Applied Cases, Good Examples and Consultant Struggles
7. Losing Motivation, Career Termination, Reboot and an Olympic Medal: Working with a Swimmer in the Year Leading up to the Olympics
Carsten Hvid Larsen and Kristoffer Henriksen
8. Mindful of a New Role: An ACT Based Sport Psychology Course for Coaches
Søren Svane Hoyer, Astrid Becker-Larsen, Jakob Hansen and Kristoffer Henriksen
9. Keeping your Eyes Closed and on the Ball: Mindfulness in Professional Sports in the United States
Mark W. Aoyagi and Jonathan Fader
10. ACT for Adolescent Athletes: A Case Study with a Young Basketball Player
Kristel Kiens and Carsten Hvid Larsen
11. Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement in Action: A Case Study with an Elite Football Academy
Amy L. Spencer, Keith A. Kaufman, Carol R. Glass, and Timothy R. Pineau
12. Caught in the Trap of Trying to Repeat Success. Sport Psychology Support for the Swedish Men’s Handball Team in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics
13. Mindfulness-training in Professional Soccer
14. Nature as a Source to Gain Perspective and Experience Awe
Anne Marte Pensgaard
15. Self-Compassion in Sport for Courage and Performance
Amy Baltzell, Philip Röthlin and Göran Kenttä
16. When Disaster Hits: Helping the Injured Athlete to Accept and Refocus
John Baranoff and Renee Appaneal
17. East meets West: Mindfulness Intervention in Hong Kong Elite Sport Setting
Hin Yue LI (Henry) and Ning SU
18. Taking our own Medicine: The Mindful Sport Psychology Practitioner in High Pressure Events
Kristoffer Henriksen, Carsten Hvid Larsen, and Jakob Hansen
Kristoffer Henriksen is an associate professor at the Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark, and a sport psychology practitioner in Team Denmark.
Jakob Hansen is a full-time private performance consultant in sport, business, and other performance domains. From 2008 to 2018 he was a sport psychology practitioner in Team Denmark.
Carsten Hvid Larsen is an associate teaching professor at the Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark, and sport psychology practitioner in Team Denmark.