Efficacy of a mental skills training course for collegiate athletes

A study by a team of researchers, published in 2023 in the Journal of athletic training, tries to shed light on this topic

by Lorenzo Ciotti
SHARE
Efficacy of a mental skills training course for collegiate athletes
© David Purdy / Stringer Getty Images Sport

The Efficacy of a Mental Skills Training Course for Collegiate Athletes, a study supported by a team of researchers and published in 2023 in the Journal of athletic training, tried to shed light on this side of sport which today is fundamental for every athlete.

Working on the mental aspect is fundamental in the success of an athlete, and this is demonstrated by the numerous stories that are reported about it every day.

The importance of the mental skills training course for collegiate athletes

The team of researchers, in their study, explained: "Psychological skills training improves performance in athletes.

However, few studies have looked at the efficacy and satisfaction of mental skills training programs for collegiate athletes. We aimed to evaluate satisfaction of collegiate athletes with a 6-session mental skills course, and to assess changes in mental toughness and coping skills before and after the course.

Prospective cohort study following collegiate female athletes through a 6-session mental skills course. 54 Division I female athletes participated in the program and 42 (77.7 %) completed pre-course assessments, which subsequent evaluations were matched to.

The Athletic Coping Skills Inventory and Mental Toughness Index assessed coping skills and mental toughness pre-course, immediate post-course and 4-month post course. Satisfaction was assessed on a 10-point scale. For participants with paired pre- and immediate post-course data, MTI scores improved by a mean 2.6 points and ACSI scores improved by a mean 4.0 points.

At four-month follow-up, no change was detected from pre-course in mean MTI score (p=0.72), but there was a significant increase of 3.4 points in mean ACSI. Overall satisfaction had a median score of 9/10 at post-course, and eighteen participants shared positive free-text comments regarding course delivery, content, and impact.

No negative feedback was reported. Mental toughness and coping skills scores significantly improved at post-course assessment, with coping skills scores maintaining their effect at four months. The improvements identified spark the question of the potential impact of mental skills training programs when studied in larger athlete populations or over more sustained periods of time.

Athletes reported being highly satisfied with course content and reported overall positive experiences."

SHARE