The effects of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) training on mindfulness, and flow in national competitive swimmers


  • Mark A. Chen Teesside University, United Kingdom
  • Jennifer Meggs Lancaster University, United Kingdom



Sport Performance, Adolescents, Interventions


There are limited studies examining the effects of a mindfulness intervention for a specific sport population group. The aim of this applied study was to investigate the effects of a mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) program on the mindfulness and flow of adolescent swimmers. Sixteen competitive adolescent swimmers were split into MSPE (n = 9) and relaxation training (RT) (n = 7) groups for eight weeks. Participants completed measures of trait and state flow mindfulness pre and post intervention. Paired t test results revealed that the MSPE group improved trait flow characteristics and global trait flow. ANCOVA analysis also revealed significantly higher effects on global trait flow and the action-awareness merging and clear goals subscales for the MSPE group compared to the RT group. These results suggested that sport orientated mindfulness interventions can psychologically benefit competitive youth swimmers. The study indicates that further research could consider applied designs to investigate in more detail the experiences this population has with specific mindfulness exercises.


Download data is not yet available.


Bernier, M., Thienot, E., Codron, R., & Fournier, J.F. (2009) A multi-study investigation examining the relationship between mindfulness and acceptance approaches and sport performance. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 3, 320-333.

Bernstien, D.A., Borkovec, T.D., &Hazlett-Stevens, H. (2000) New directions in progressive relaxation training: A guidebook for helping professionals. Praeger. London.

Biegal, G.M., Chang, K., Garrett, A., and Edwards, M. (2014) Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Teens. Cited In: Baer, R.A. (Ed) Mindfulness-based Treatment Approaches: Clinicians guide to evidence base and applications(2nd edition) (pp. 189-212). Elsevier. London.

Bishop, S.R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N.D., Carmondy, J., &Devins, G. (2004) Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 3, 230-241.

Brown, K.W., & Ryan, R.M. (2003) The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 4, 822-848.

Brown, K. W., West, A. M., Loverich, T. M., & Biegel, G. M. (2011). Assessing adolescent mindfulness: Validation of an Adapted Mindful Attention Awareness Scale in adolescent normative and psychiatric populations. Psychological Assessment, 23(4), 1023–1033.

Cathcart, S., McGregor, M., & Groundwater, E. (2014) Mindfulness and flow in athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 8, 119-141.

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd edition). Routledge, London.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2002). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Davidson, R.J. (2002). Toward a biology of positive affect and compassion. In R.J. Davidson (Eds), Visions of compassion: Western scientists and Tibetan Buddhists examine human nature (pp. 107-130). New York, NY: Oxford.

Dunlap, W. P., Cortina, J. M., Vaslow, J. B., & Burke, M. J. (1996). Meta-analysis of experiments with matched groups or repeated measures designs. Psychological Methods, 1, 170-177.

Hasker, S.M. (2010).Evaluation of the mindfulness-acceptance-commitment (MAC) approach for enhancing athletic performance (Doctoral Dissertation). Indiana, PA: Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Jackson, S.A. (2016). Flow and mindfulness in performance, Cited in: A.L. Baltzell, (Ed) Mindfulness and performance. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (pp. 78-100).

Jackson, S.A., &Eklund, R.C.,(2002). Assessing flow in physical activity: The flow state scale-2 and Dispositional Flow scale-2. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 24, 133-150.

Jackson, S.A.,&Eklund, R.C, (2004) Relationships between quality of experience and participation in diverse performance settings. Paper presented at the 39th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Sydney, Australia. Australian Journal of Psychology, 56, (September Supplement), 193.

Jha, A.P., Krompinger, J., &Baime, M.J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cognitive, Affective &Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 109-119.

Jha, A.P., Stanley, E.A., Kiyonaga, A., Wong, L., &Gelfand, L., (2010). Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience. Emotion, 10, 54-64.

Johnson, D., Kerri, E. Joyce & Kruger, J. (2003). "Why People Fail to Recognize Their Own Incompetence". Current Directions in Psychological Science. 12 (3): 83–87.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Whereever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in daily life. New York, NY: Hyperion.

Kaufmann, K.A., Glass, C.R., &Arnkoff, D.B. (2009). Evaluation of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE): A new approach to promote flow in athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 3, 4, 334-356.

Kaufmann, K.A., Glass, C.R., &Pineau, T.R. (2018).Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement: Mental Training for Athletes and Coaches. Washington D.C, American Psychological Association.

Lau, M.A., Bishop, S.R., Segal, Z.V., Buis, T., Anderson, N.D., Carlson, L., & Carmody, J. (2006). The Toronto mindfulness scale: Development and validation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62, 12, 1445-1467.

Marks, D.R. (2008). The Buddha’s extra scoop: Neural correlates of mindfulness an clinical sport psychology. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 2, 216-241.

Mesagno, C., &Mullane-Grant, T. (2010). A comparison of different pre- performance routines as possible choking interventions. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 22, 343-360.

Moore, Z.E., & Gardner, F.L. (2011). Understanding models of performance enhancement from the perspective of emotion regulation. Athletic Insight, 3, ,3 247-260.

Nakamura, J.,&Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2002). The concept of flow. In C.R. Snyder and S.J. Lopez (Eds), Handbook of Positive Psychology (pp. 89-105). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Rosner, B. (2010).Fundamentals of Biostatistics (7th edition). Blackwell. London.

Sappington, R., &Longshore, K. (2015). Systematically reviewing the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for enhanced athletic performance, Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 9, 232-262.

Scott-Hamilton, J., Schutte, N. & Brown, R.F. (2016). The effects of a mindfulness intervention on sports anxiety, pessimism, and flow in competitive cyclists. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 8, 1, 85-103.

Slagter, H.A., Lutz, A., Greischar, L.L., Francis, A.D., Nieuwenhuis, S., David, J.M., & Davidson, R.J. (2007). Mental training affects distribution of limited brain resources. PLos Biology, 5, e138.

Swann, C., Keegan, R.J., Piggot, D., & Crust, L. (2012). A systematic review of the experience, occurrence and controllability of flow states in elite sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 6, 807-819.

Tabachnick, B.C., &Fidell, L.S. (2013).Using multivariate statistics (6thedn). New York. Pearson.

Thompson, R.W., Kaufmann, K.A., De Petrillo, L.A., Glass, C.R., &Arnkoff, D.B. (2011). One year follow up of mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) for archers, golfers, and runners. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 5, 2, 99-116.

Tucker, R. (2009). The anticipatory regulation of performance: The physiological basis for pacing strategies and the development of a perception-based model of exercise performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43, 392–400.

Whudan, N. (2014). Effects of relaxation training on muscle tension and the performance level of 50m front crawl swimming. Science, Movement and Health, 14, 1, 143-148.


Statistics RUA



How to Cite

Chen, M. A., & Meggs, J. (2021). The effects of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) training on mindfulness, and flow in national competitive swimmers. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 16(3), 517–527.



Performance Analysis of Sport