The True Athlete Project: Where sport and humanity collide


Earlier this year I had the pleasure and privilege of once again designing and delivering the True Athlete Project ‘s 5-week mindfulness programme for athletes as part of their Global Athlete Mentoring Programme.

Each programme and class is like its own living and breathing organism – unique, different to the one before.
The only consistency is that each class strengthens my belief that the True Athlete Project is cultivating an arena where sport and humanity can collide. 

My PhD explored the process of developing mindfulness-based programmes for organisations to ensure the design and delivery includes both
(a) the essential ingredients of what gives a mindfulness-based approach its essence and effectiveness,
(b) a skilful tailoring to the intended audience by making it relevant and useful in spirit, format and content

I used the PhD learnings in my programme development for the True Athlete Project.

The PhD findings also produced an offshoot of insights around the challenge of programme adherence – in particular the requirement of motivation for self-led mindfulness practice.  I have ideas based on motivational theories that I would love to bring to and test in my next research project

For now, the programmes I design and deliver are modelled on a simple 3-point framework based on Self Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan, 2000). I used this model in the design of the True Athlete Project programme.

The programme was:

  • Expert-led: with the facilitator educating and equipping the participants with appropriate psychological skills (meeting the need of competence)


  • Group-run: with the facilitator cultivating a supportive, playful and psychologically safe environment as well as a sense of belonging (meeting the need of relatedness)

  • Personalised: with the programme design and facilitator skilfully guiding the participants to work out their own way forward (meeting the need of autonomy)

If you are a sports coach, maybe you are interested in becoming a member of the True Athlete coach community?  Click here for more information 🙂

Anne Macdonald | Performance Psychology