Sports confidence and critical incident intensity after a brief application of Emotional Freedom Techniques: A pilot study

Citation (APA style): Church, D., & Downs, D. (2012). Sports confidence and critical incident intensity after a brief application of Emotional Freedom Techniques: A pilot study. Sport Journal, 15(1).


Objective: To determine if a single session of EFT could reduce the emotional impact of traumatic memories related to sports performance, and lead to increased confidence levels in athletes.

Background: A relationship has been noted in other studies between sports performance and psychological factors such as confidence and anxiety levels. Critical incidents, which are experienced as traumatic memories, are associated with increased levels of psychological distress across a variety of symptom domains. Brief EFT sessions have been demonstrated to improve sport performance.

Methods: Female college athletes (N = 10) with traumatic memories were assessed using three self-reports and one objective measure (pulse rate). Subjective measures were State Sport Confidence inventory (SSC), Subjective Units of Distress (SUD), and the Critical Sport Incident Recall (CSIR) questionnaire, which measured both emotional and physical distress. Subjects received a single 20 minute EFT session. Baseline values were obtained, as well as pre, and post, and 60 day follow-ups.

Results: Significant post-intervention improvements were found in SUD, for both emotional and physical components of CSIR, and for performance confidence levels (p = 0.001). The change in pulse rate was marginally significant (p = 0.087). All participant gains were maintained on follow-up.

Conclusions: A brief application of EFT may increase sport confidence levels by reducing the emotional and physical distress associated with the recall of critical incidents.

Keywords: sport, confidence, pulse, EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, anxiety, memory

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