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EP Studies on Athletic Performance
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EP Research Studies on Athletic Performance

A Re-Examination of Church's (2009) Study into the Effects of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on Basketball Free-Throw Performance

A. Harvey Baker, PhD. Queens College, City University of New York.
Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, (2010), 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.

Keywords: Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT, athletic performance, free-throw performance, performance anxiety. 

The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial

Dawson Church, PhD
Open Sports Sciences Journal, (2009), 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.

Keywords: basketball, performance, free throws, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), anxiety, stress.


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