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Application of the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) Protocol With an Adolescent Springboard Diver

by Lori Schwanhausser
Journal of Clinical Sports Psychology ()

Abstract

This study presents the case of Steve, an adolescent competitive springboard diver. This diver, referred by his coach, received the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) approach for performance enhancement. The MAC protocol, originally written for an adult population, was used in modified form (under con-sultation from the authors) to ensure appropriateness for an adolescent population. Conducted in nine individual sessions, the intervention targeted abilities in attention and value-driven behavior to enhance focus, poise, and overall diving performance. Self-report measures of mindfulness and flow, along with objective measures of diving performance were collected pre-and postintervention. Results indicated increases in mindful awareness, mindful attention, experiential acceptance, flow, and diving performance from pre-to postintervention. This case supports the applicability of the MAC protocol with an adolescent athlete population. In the broad field of sport psychology, one of the most highly coveted areas of study and practice is related to the application of mental skills techniques for the enhancement of athletic performance. To assist athletes in their quest for optimal performance states, a number of traditional " second wave " cognitive behavioral techniques are often employed, such as guided imagery, self-talk, goal setting, and arousal control interventions. These strategies, developed in the 1970s, seek to promote control of one's internal mental and emotional processes, based on the early theoretical prediction that controlling or modifying these processes, especially the presence of negative affect and/or cognitions (Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996), will lead to more functional behavior. Although sport psychologists have used these techniques for decades, they have unfortunately not garnered adequate sup-port for their efficacy at enhancing athletic performance (see Moore, 2003). More recently, however, researchers and practitioners have suggested the viability of an acceptance-based model to conceptualize psychological performance

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