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Does using Smartphone Technology improve mental training engagement?

Elite athletes understand the benefits of mental training to deal with the stressors of training and competition. However, this particular cohort struggle with allocating time to work on mental training programs within the overall training program.


The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that Smartphone applications will improve athlete engagement with mental training programs.


  • Forty-six male adults (mean age 24 years) who play for one professional Australian Rules football team were recruited to participate in this study.

  • Players were randomized into three groups to undertake participation in one of three applications over a four week period:

  1. one group completed a mindfulness application (Headspace),

  2. a second group completed a brain training application (Cognifit), and

  3. a third were control and used a neutral application (Soothing Sounds).

  • Players were assessed pre and post the four-week program on engagement; and measures including sleep (duration and quality), resilience, flow state, determination, and overall wellbeing.


  • Results showed no differences in groups, or change in the dependent variables.

  • However, player engagement was noticeably reduced in all groups with compliance falling, compared to initial participation levels, by 43%, 38% and 42% for the mindfulness, brain training and neutral applications respectively.


This study demonstrates that Smartphone applications do not improve compliance with mental training programs, or significantly improve outcomes, in this professional athlete environment.

Implications (From SportPsych Consulting)

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