Mindfulness in Collegiate Athletics

A Case Study at a Division I University


  • Christina Aaron University of Denver
  • Brian Gearity University of Denver
  • Clayton Kuklick University of Denver


mindfulness, athletes, strength and conditioning


The two purposes of this study were to: (a) examine the influence of sport type, academic year, sex, and previous mindfulness experiences on the five facets of mindfulness (i.e., observe [O], describe [D], act with awareness [AWA], non-judging of internal experience [NJIE], and non-reactivity to inner experience [NRIE], and (b) explore the implementation of mindfulness across a collegiate athletic department. Quantitative data participants included 257 collegiate athletes (136 male, 121 female; M = 20.1 years of age, SD = + 1.46), from a western U.S., midsized, private, Division 1 university. Qualitative data participants included 10 individuals (6 staff members and 4 athletes) from the same institution. Results from multivariate tests indicated significant influences of sport type on D (F(12, 230) = 2.65, p < .01, partial eta2 = .12), academic year on AWA (F(4, 238) = 2.61, p = .04, partial eta2 = .04), = .04), sex on NRIE (F(1, 238) = 7.26, p < .01, partial eta2 =.03), and previous mindfulness experience on O (F(1, 238) = 4.82, p = .03, partial eta2 = .02). Qualitative data participants reported the following: implementation (individualization and evaluation), perceived benefits (awareness, interpersonal skills, performance, and positive affect), and perceived hindrances (catering to individuals’ needs, lack of coach “buy-in,” and multiple understandings of mindfulness). This study provides an understanding of factors affecting athletes’ mindfulness and captures individual and organizational perceptions of mindfulness, thereby providing practical insights on how to strengthen mindfulness programming across an organization.



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