Self-Compassion and Performance

High-pressure situations and performance expectations often result in self-criticism and anxiety in athletes. Self-compassion may be a useful tool for emotional regulation when faced with these situations, consequently optimizing performance (Baltzell, 2016).

Key Findings



Adam, M. E. K., Eke, A. O., & Ferguson, L. J. (2021). “Know that you’re not just settling”: Exploring women athletes’ self-compassion, sport performance perceptions, and well-being around important competitive events. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.


Baltzell, A. (2016). Self-compassion, distress tolerance, and mindfulness in performance. In A. Baltzell (Ed.), Mindfulness and performance: Current perspectives in social and behavioral sciences (pp. 53-77). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Carrança, B., Serpa, S., Rosado, A., & Guerrero, J. P. (2019). A pilot study of a mindfulness-based program (MBSoccerP): The potential role of mindfulness, self-compassion and psychological flexibility on flow and elite performance in soccer athletes. Revista Iberoamericana de psicologia del ejercicio y el deporte, 14, 34-40.


Eke, A. O., Adam, M. E. K., Kowalski, K. C., & Ferguson, L. J. (2020). Narratives of adolescent women athletes’ body self-compassion, performance and emotional well-being. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 12, 175-191. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2019.1628805


Killham, M. E., Mosewich, A. D., Mack, D. E., Gunnell, K., & Ferguson, L. J. (2018).  Women athletes’ self-compassion, self-criticism, and perceived sport performance. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 7, 297-307. doi:10.1037/spy0000127


Neff, K.D., Hsieh, Y., and Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4, 263–287. doi:10.1080/13576500444000317


Neff, K. D., Rude, S. S., and Kirkpatrick, K. L. (2007). An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(1), 908–916. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.03.004