The Effects of Mindfulness Training on Indices of Cognition, Stress and Immune Function in Team-Sport Athletes

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Minahan, Clare

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Milburn, Peter

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2017
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Abstract

Human potential is a fascinating concept. The saying, ‘you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it,’ has certainly passed through my ears on many occasion. I look at some of the greatest athletes in recent history: Michael Phelps, Kelly Slater, Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant in awe of what they have achieved and wonder: what makes them so great? How have they managed to achieve what they have? Undoubtedly, incredible natural talent, physical stature, and mental attributes such as determination, perseverance and self-belief contribute to their success. But I’ve always believed there’s more to it; they all possess the ability to achieve a superlative mental focus during competition. But how do they put their entire focus on the task at hand in such highly stressful and physically demanding situations? Could it be that they have the ability to achieve a heightened state of mindfulness? In 2014, the Seattle Seahawks achieved the unthinkable and won the 48th Super Bowl; the 2014 NFL championship. Head coach, Pete Carroll, attributed their success to the help of Michael Gervais, one of the world’s leading performance psychologists. In an interview following the Super Bowl win, Gervais was asked, ‘Obviously your end goal was winning, but what were your strategies with the Seahawks?’ At that point, Gervais’s tone of voice changed, almost concerned, and responded: ‘See, we don’t talk about winning. The goal for us is to be fully engaged at a really rich level to figure out and explore what is possible in your own life. And, if you get enough people resonating in that space, winning just happens as a result of this.’ Michael Gervais brought mindfulness training to the Seattle Seahawks and it has since become an integral part of their training regime.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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School of Allied Health

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Subject

Mindfulness training

Performance psychology

Team-sport athletes

Athletic training

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