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EFT for Sports Performance

Below is a selection of abstracts (summaries) of research articles on EFT for enhancing sports performance.

For further research on other topics, follow the links below:
- EFT for Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress
- EFT for Cravings, Weight Issues and Addictions
- EFT for Anxiety, Phobias and Stress
- EFT for Pain and Physical Issues
- EFT for Depression

Church, D. (2009). The effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on athletic performance: A randomized controlled blind trial. Open Sports Sciences, 2, 94-99.

The present study investigates the effect of a psychophysiological intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), on athletic performance. It evaluates whether a single EFT treatment can produce an improvement in high-performance men’s and women’s PAC-10 college basketball team members (n = 26). The treatment group received a 15 minute EFT session while a performance-matched attention control group received a placebo intervention of similar duration. Performance was measured on free throws and vertical jump height. The time frame of data collection and treatment simulated an actual basketball game. A statistically significant difference between the two groups was found for free throws (p<.03). On post-test, players who received the EFT intervention improved an average of 20.8%, while the attention control group decreased an average of 16.6%. There was no difference between treatment groups in jump height. When performance was analyzed separately by gender, trends toward significance were found for the women’s team on both performance measures with better results for the EFT intervention group. This indicates that EFT performed as an intervention during the course of an athletic event may improve free throw performance.
Full text of the article is available here.

Baker, A. H. (2010). A re-examination of Church’s (2009) study into the effects of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on basketball free-throw performance. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 2(1), 39-44.

Church (2009) studied basketball free-throw performance of college varsity athletes, comparing (a) a brief treatment of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with (b) an encouraging talk. A re-examination of Church’s data supported his conclusion that the EFT treatment led to relatively better performance compared with the control group. In addition, we found (a) the reported improvement within the EFT condition was not significant, whereas the control condition decrement was significant and robust; (b) the positive effect of EFT thus took the form of an avoidance of the strong performance decrement seen in the control group; and (c) men and women contributed about equally to these findings. To avoid an apparent ceiling effect, future researchers should use a more difficult free-throw task. Because this apparent ceiling effect may have caused the distribution of scores to deviate from normality, we confirmed the above reported findings from parametric analyses using nonparametric tests.

Llewellyn-Edwards, T., & Llewellyn-Edwards, M. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on soccer performance. Fidelity: Journal for the National Council of Psychotherapy, 47, 14-21.

This study involved the use of a short session of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with two English ladies soccer teams. It is a randomized controlled trial with a supporting uncontrolled trial. It was designed to verify the results of an earlier similar American trial involving basketball players. The results show a significant improvement in goal scoring ability from a dead ball situation following a short EFT session. These results support those of the earlier trial.

Rotherham, M., Maynard, I., Thomas, O., Bawden, M., & Francis, L. (2012). Preliminary evidence for the treatment of type I ‘yips’: The efficacy of the Emotional Freedom Techniques. The Sport Psychologist, 26, 551-570.

This study explored whether a meridian-based intervention termed the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) could reduce Type I ‘yips’ symptoms. EFT was applied to a single figure handicap golfer in an attempt to overcome the performance decrements the player had suffered. The participant underwent four 2-hr sessions of EFT. The EFT involved the stimulation of various acupuncture points on the body. The appropriate acupuncture points were tapped while the participant was tuned into the perceived psychological causes (significant life event) associated with his ‘yips’ experience. Dependent variables included: visual inspection of the ‘yips’, putting success rate and motion analysis data. Improvements in ‘yips’ symptoms occurred across all dependent measures. Social validation data also illustrated that these improvements transferred to the competitive situation on the golf course. It is possible that significant life events may be a causal factor in the ‘yips’ experience and that EFT may be an effective treatment for the ‘yips’ condition.

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


Purpose: To determine whether a single session of Emotional Freedom Techniques (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 sports performance and reduce anxiety.

Methods: Female college athletes (N = 10) with traumatic memories were assessed on three self-reports and one objective measure (pulse rate). Subjective measures were the State Sport Confidence Inventory, Subjective Units of Distress (SUD), and the Critical Sport Incident Recall (CSIR) questionnaire, which measured both emotional and physical forms of distress. Subjects received a single 20-min EFT session. Baseline values were obtained, as well as pre-, 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 = .001). The change in pulse rate was marginally significant (p = .087). All participant gains were maintained on follow-up.

Conclusions: EFT may increase sport confidence levels by reducing the emotional and physical distress associated with the recall of critical incidents. Applications in Sport: A brief application of EFT employed immediately prior to competition may increase confidence and mediate anxiety.
Full text of the article is available here.

Further resources

   

For further research on other topics, follow the links below:
- EFT for Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress
- EFT for Cravings, Weight Issues and Addictions
- EFT for Anxiety, Phobias and Stress
- EFT for Pain and Physical Issues
- EFT for Depression