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From Doubts to Triumph: Tapping (EFT and TFT) your Way to Athletic Excellence

In the world of competitive sports, athletes constantly seek innovative methods to gain an edge over their opponents and optimize their performance. While traditional training methods and physical conditioning are undoubtedly crucial, a somatic technique called "Tapping" has caught the attention of athletes and sports enthusiasts alike.


"Confidence consistently appears as a key skill possessed by successful elite athletes, and international-level athletes have identified confidence as the most critical mental skill defining mental toughness. Knowing this, elite athletes have stated that the development and maintenance of confidence is one of their biggest needs in mental training."

Sports Psychology: 1st Edition, Published by Blackwell Publishing.


[EDIT: Updated April 2024] Tapping is rapidly gaining popularity due to its potential to significantly improve athletic performance. In this blog, I will explore how Tapping has proven to be a game-changer for leading teams and athletes across different sports, backed by research and compelling statistics.


What is Tapping?

Tapping was originally a technique called 'Thought Field Therapy' (TFT) this was later simplified into an easier approach: Emotional Freedom Technique or 'EFT'. Tapping is a therapeutic approach that combines principles from ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology. It involves gently tapping on specific meridian points on the body while focusing on unhelpful (so-called 'negative') emotions, traumas, or limiting beliefs. This process is designed to clear energy blockages and rebalance the body's energy system.

A well-built man with tattoos on his big bicepts and forearm looks to the camera with a thumb up. He is sitting on a workout bench with weights in the background.

The Impact of Tapping on Athletic Performance

The connection between mental state and physical performance in sports is well-established. Sportspeople and athletes often face performance anxiety, fear of failure, limiting beliefs and self-doubt, which can hinder their abilities and affect outcomes.


Tapping aims to address these psychological barriers, enabling athletes to unlock their full potential and achieve peak performance.


For athletes, EFT is, indeed, a remarkable, life-changing tool.




The following studies - which examine the effects of Tapping on athletes - provide initial insights into the potential benefits of using Tapping techniques, such as Thought Field Therapy (TFT) or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for athletes. They provide compelling evidence for its efficacy:

  1. Sports Confidence and Critical Incident Intensity After a Brief Application of Emotional Freedom Techniques: A Pilot Study (Church, D., & Downs, D., 2012). This pilot study was designed to determine if a single 20-minute session of EFT could reduce the emotional impact of traumatic memories related to sports performance, and lead to increased confidence levels in athletes. It concluded that a brief application of EFT may increase sport confidence levels by reducing the emotional and physical distress associated with the recall of critical incidents. All participant gains were maintained on follow-up. Sport Journal, 15.

  2. The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial (Church, 2009): This controlled blind trial investigated the effects of EFT on athletic performance. The results indicated that EFT significantly improved vertical jump height in a group of professional basketball players compared to a control group. Read article from The Open Sports Sciences Journal 2009, 2, 94-99

  3. The Effect of EFT on Soccer Performance, (Llewellyn-Edwards, T., & Llewellyn-Edwards, M., 2012): 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.

  4. The effect of EFT on athletic performance: 'Athletes treated with EFT improved their [Basketball] free throw performance by an average of 20.8%, while the control group decreased by an average of 16.6%' (i.e. a 38% difference between the groups)  Conclusion: A very brief application of EFT, administered in a compressed time frame similar to the duration of a game, can increase performance in high-performing athletes. The Open Sports Sciences Journal.

  5. Preliminary evidence for the efficacy of EFT in Golf. EFT resulted in an average 36% improvement in the Golf handicap amongst the 31 study participants. Article by Stephen Ladd

  6. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. Between the pre- and post-test time points, participants experienced significant decreases in anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings, and a significant increase in happiness. This was confirmed by physiological markers, e.g. Cortisol down 37% after a single 1 hour session.


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