Mindfulness and Anxiety as Predictors of Swimming Performance Under Pressure
AuthorHojnacki, Zachary Steven
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractChoking under pressure is a devastating experience for athletes who have invested their time and energy to master a sport. This study reviewed the mechanisms of choking under pressure to further understand the phenomenon and identify possible remedies. Twenty-eight competitive swimmers from the University of Arizona swim team were assessed on measures of dispositional mindfulness and trait anxiety, while three current staff members rated each athlete on measures of skill transfer and receptiveness to feedback. Athlete performances were recorded over the course of one season, and assigned a pressure rating of low, medium, and high. Results indicated significant effects of pressure on change in performance, and revealed non-significant trends between trait anxiety, mindfulness, and performance improvements as a function of pressure. Significant relationships were also found for trait anxiety with mindfulness and gender. Coach ratings were not found to be accurate predictors of improvements in swimming performance. These findings call into question theory suggesting trait anxiety is facilitative when low and detrimental when high, instead suggesting it may distribute as an inverse-u relative to performance. They also suggest dispositional mindfulness may be facilitative of performance under pressure, an endorsement for continued research into the efficacy of mindfulness training in athletics. Finally, they call into question the accuracy of coach ratings of athletes, and reveal a need for further investigation in that area. Implications for choking under pressure are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College