The following is a brief excerpt and summary from my upcoming PhD dissertation, discussing my pilot research program from 2019-20 exploring how mindfulness training affects stress perception in preadolescent athletes.
Over the last decade, there has been an influx of research on mindfulness training for adolescent children playing sports. However, the research within the preadolescent age group appears to be limited. Developmental stage theory supports the philosophical foundations of working with this age group in this specific context.
As a preliminary step in my process, I completed a pilot research program (Faeder, 2020a) exploring how a mindfulness program affects stress perception in a group of preadolescent children who play sports. I worked with four children, age eleven-years-old, who played competitive youth baseball. I designed a four-week mindfulness program based on existing research, theory, and my professional experience teaching mindfulness to children in this context. Using quantitative measurements and qualitative interviews, I investigated how these children perceived stress before and after the four-week mindfulness training program.
The results of the pilot study are promising. The children’s knowledge of mindfulness increased and they began to utilize mindful strategies beyond their sport. The positive results encouraged this dissertation, which includes a refined methodology with more applicable quantitative measurement tools, improved qualitative interview questions, and a coaches’ report for additional perspective on the possible growth and development of the participants. There are also improved elements to the four-week protocol, including the addition of gratitude training and a restructured time-frame to allow for more continuity.