Mindfulness-based Training for Olympic Athletes

Jean Fournier, French Institute of Sport, France

Theme: Mental training/interventions

Poster Number: 129

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Recent articles (e.g., Ahern, Moran, & Lonsdale, 2011; Gardner & Moore, 2012) have highlighted the relevance of mindfulness-based training for performance enhancement in sport. This presentation reports the content of mindfulness interventions in Olympic athletes practicing Judo and pistol shooting in preparation for the London games. Both interventions included mindfulness, acceptance and refocusing training. The judo intervention targeted the specific need for refocusing when distracted by the high stakes of tournaments, while the pistol shooter consulted for maintaining focus during a repetitive task. The judo intervention was made directly in order to 1) contribute to thought awareness, 2) acceptance of thoughts, 3) refocusing on a tactical component of each fight. The steps and the exercises used during the individual intervention will be presented. However, the intervention for the pistol shooter was directed toward the staff for the benefit of the whole team. The intervention mainly touched on 1) the monitoring of thoughts, 2) acceptance of any thought as a thought, and 3) refocusing on a key element of the shooting. While the content of the program was similar for both sports, the delivery of the program was different. The Judo athlete was trained directly because the staff called for a consultant. The pistol shooter benefited from the program because the staff called for ongoing training in sport psychology. The respective advantages of the two delivery protocols will be discussed with regard to the novelty of mindfulness-based intervention in elite sport.

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