Over the past decade, research on self-compassion has grown tremendously (McGhee, Germer, & Neff, 2017). Previous findings show a wide range of benefits to being self-compassionate, including using positive coping skills to overcoming failures, increasing emotional regulation, and enhanced overall wellbeing (Neff, 2009). Similar benefits can have been found among self-compassionate athletes in sport and performance settings (Ceccarelli et al., 2019; Mosewich et al., 2019). This project introduces a guided workbook of self-compassion-based reflections and mental exercises aimed to help prepare competitive Irish dancers for performance. Competitive Irish dancers are in a sport environment and face many of the same hardships as athletes, such as failure, injury, and negative emotions that can prevent peak performance and decrease mental health and overall wellbeing (Curran & Hill, 2018; Mosewich et al., 2019). Many resources are available to dancers to increase their physical strength. However, there is a lack of resources to assist dancers with their mental strength. The workbook is a resource containing reflections and mental exercises that will introduce dancers' to various strategies to be self-compassionate. Irish dancers will learn to set effective goals, increase their awareness of how their body feels, and utilize self-talk for optimal performance. Key aspects covered are learning to be kind to oneself, remaining in the present moment, and reaching out for support. Other mental skills, such as imagery and precompetitive routines, will be taught with a self-compassionate approach. All of these exercises can be practiced and integrated into dancers' training to help them achieve optimal performance and increase their overall wellbeing.
Dr. Vikki Krane
Dr. Robin M. DuFresne
Smock, Hayley, "Cultivating Compassion for Competition: A Psychological Skills Workbook for Irish Dancers" (2020). Master of Education in Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects. 86.