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:
one group completed a mindfulness application (Headspace),
a second group completed a brain training application (Cognifit), and
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)
This Australian study highlights a similar phenomenon we experience in Asia (particularly in Singapore). Athlete engagement tends to wane over time.
As such, we now utilize a training methodology that enhances engagement via playful activities. This helps to keep interest and energy levels higher than traditional approaches. It's called P.L.A.Y.
For some examples or instances of P.L.AY., check out the following:
Speak with our training consultants on how we can help your team or group be more engaged over the competitive season or year!
Contact us at:
In Singapore: fb.com/sportpsych.consulting
In Philippines: fb.com/sportpsychphilippines