1st Edition

Mindfulness and Acceptance in Sport How to Help Athletes Perform and Thrive under Pressure

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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

    Johan Ekengren

    13. Mindfulness-training in Professional Soccer

    Anders Meland

    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.