Implementation and impact of the Mindfulness Meditation Training for Sport (MMTS) 2.0 protocol with a division III women's college basketball team and coaching staff
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This study examined the Mindfulness Meditation for Sport 2.0 protocol (MMTS 2.0) (Baltzell & Summers, 2018), a six-week integrated mindfulness and self-compassion training, with a Division III women’s basketball team and coaching staff. The study design replicated a mixed method approach used in previous MMTS 2.0 studies, using an identical battery of eight validated quantitative instruments (with the student athletes only), as well as a qualitative interview guide (slightly modified for this study for sport-specificity). Both student athletes and coaches were interviewed post-training in order to explore their self-reported perceptions of the impact and the benefits and challenges of the MMTS 2.0 training. The MMTS 2.0 protocol was delivered by the researcher to fifteen total participants (n=15), ten student athletes and five coaches, over six weekly one-hour sessions. In addition to the weekly group sessions, as part of the MMTS 2.0 training, home practice was encouraged using audio-recorded meditations. The primary objective of the MMTS 2.0 training was to increase the student athletes’ and coaches’ poise as defined by ability to cope with the experience of negative thoughts and emotions that may be present due to the pressures of competition and training. In addition, the objectives of increased focus and psychological flexibility were investigated. The researcher hypothesized that the MMTS 2.0 intervention would show increases in measures of mindfulness and self-compassion, and other indices of sport-related performance variables (e.g., flow, grit, psychological inflexibility, etc.), as well as participant well-being. Reductions in sport-related anxiety and psychological inflexibility were hypothesized. The quantitative findings revealed no statistically significant results regarding the eight quantitative measures as well as no demonstrated moderate effect sizes. The qualitative results indicated strong support for the training. Both groups, student athletes and coaches, described a range of perceived impacts, aligning with the training’s core objectives of increased poise, focus and psychological flexibility. The emerging themes in the interview data revealed evidence for overall enhancements in awareness, focus, stress management, and strong support for enhanced team climate. The discussion synthesizes the findings and offers suggestions for future implementation and coach involvement.