Neurofeedback and Sports Applications

 

Neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) holds potential for retraining brainwave activity to enhance optimal performance in athletes in various sports. Neurofeedback has been shown to have potential for quieting the mind to improve performance in archery, for example. It can also be used to improve concentration and focus.

 

In a study by Dr. Corydon Hammond, published in the Journal of the American Board of Sport Psychology (2007), explores how neurofeedback can be used to boost performance in athletes of various sports. By quieting and focusing the mind, neurofeedback helps athletes get “in the zone” more easily and stay there, even under immense pressure. In addition, the therapy can help to improve cognitive function after a mild head injury, or help athletes control their emotions in the middle of stressful events. Dr. Hammond also believes the therapy has tremendous untapped potential to help improve physical balance in sports where it is paramount to success, such as skiing or gymnastics.  View the study here....

 

Star athletes from the NBA, NFL, LPGA – even pro rugby players – have turned to neurofeedback for that mental advantage that can catapult them above and beyond the competition.  This makes sense, given what we already know about neurofeedback:

 

  1. For many, Neurofeedback improves the depth and quality of sleep. Can you imagine individuals for whom sleep is more important than elite athletes? Trainers have found that deep, restorative sleep often direct correlates to performance.

  2. Neurofeedback may increase neural plasticity, which helps the central nervous system better cope with stress.

  3. Neurofeedback aids in the brain's ability to focus. And focus is essential for athletes. But with all the distractions of a sporting event, it is a struggle to stay in the moment and not allow one’s concentration to flitter away. As goes focus, so goes one’s performance. A mere millisecond of mental drift can undermine years of training and careful preparation.

  4. Neurofeedback can help undermine one-way, negative thinking. Athletes are subject to slumps in sports, not because of what’s lacking in their bodies, but because of what has gotten into their brains. If their performance persistently declines, it is easy for athletes to get in a mindset of, “I’ll never be good again” or “I’ll never break this bad streak”.  Streaks and slumps are the enemies of peak athletic performance, but they are inevitable. You can’t be “on” every single day. Neurofeedback can help one dispense with a bad day or performance without internalizing or obsessing over it.

  5. Neurofeedback can help with anti-aging and brain fitness.  Apart from mental slips, the greatest enemy of the athlete is time. Because with time comes age. Physical condition is only one aspect of competition. The brain has to be sharp; resilient, flexible. Ready for lightning-quick changes coming at them from opponents. Neurofeedback can help reserve that cognitive edge over time.

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