Does a brief mindfulness intervention counteract the detrimental effects of ego-depletion in basketball free throw under pressure?

Fatemeh Shaabani, Aynollah Naderi, Erika Borella, Luis Calmeiro

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Abstract

Research has shown that a brief mindfulness intervention may counteract the depleting effects of an emotion suppression task upon a subsequent psychological task that requires self-control. However, the effects of a brief mindfulness intervention on perceptual–motor tasks particularly in stressful situations have not yet been examined. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a brief mindfulness intervention can counteract the detrimental effects of ego-depletion in basketball free throw performance under pressure. Seventy-two basketball players (mean age = 28.6 ± 4.0 yrs) were randomly assigned to one of the following 4 groups: depletion/mindfulness, no depletion/mindfulness, depletion/no mindfulness and control (no depletion/no mindfulness). The mindfulness intervention consisted of a 15-min breathe and body mindfulness audio exercise, while the control condition (no mindfulness) listened to an audio book. A modified Stroop color-word task was used to manipulate self–control and induce ego depletion. Participants performed 30 free throws before and after the experimental manipulations. Results showed that basketball players’ free throw performance decreased after ego-depletion, but when ego-depletion was followed by the mindfulness intervention, free throw performance was maintained at a level similar to the control group. Our results indicate that a brief mindfulness intervention mitigates the effects of ego depletion in a basketball free-throw task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Volume9
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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