Biofeedback in Sport
The majority of the body's physiological processes are not under our conscious control and yet they directly influence our physical and cognitive performance. We have known for many years that learning to consciously control aspects of our physiology - at will and under pressure - is an important element of being able to perform at a peak level. Understand the mind and sports performance is vital.
Biofeedback has become an important part of achieving the highest levels of athletic performance because by making use of these techniques and technologies, athletes and sports people of all kinds can learn to alter and improve their own physiological states and responses to stressful situations. The mind and sports performance go hand in hand.
Training that develops this type of learning is vital in situations that demand calmness in preparation and under pressure of performance as well as improved focus, concentration and power delivery when its really needed. Biofeedack training also builds confidence as the athlete learns that "harmful" stress can be dissipated and on optimal level of performance can be reached.
How can Athletes benefit from Biofeedback Training?
- Control and reduce stress and anxiety
- Reduce or induce energy and intensity
- Improve focus and concentration
- Facilitate recovery from injury
- Improve performance consistency
What information can biofeedback provide to the athlete?
Biofeedback provides access to many important aspects of performance such as muscle tension, heart rate, respiration rate and more in a manner that is rapid, precise and meaningful.
The fundamental premise is that if the trainee is given information on one or more of these biological processes they can learn to regulate them consciously - even when the equipment is not available.
The biofeedback process has three fundamental elements
- Firstly, physiological information is recorded from sensors placed on various parts of the body
- Secondly, this information is transduced, processed, amplified and fedback to the trainee in the form of auditory, visual and even kinesthetic signals (ie vibration)
- Thirdly, by paying attention to the fedback information, the trainee gradually learns to consciously alter and control the physiological behaviour
NeXus hardware, software and sensors provide ideal platforms to put biofeedback training to use in sports at the highest level. Around the world, both professional teams and amateur sports institutes already choose NeXus products.
How is Biofeedback in Sport Used?
Here are some common applications for biofeedback in sport
- Heart Rate - Elevated heart rate may increase reaction time whilst learning to stabilise heart rate may increase indurance and cardiovascular efficiency.
- Respiration - Improper breathing may lead to inefficient performance, choking and hyperventialation
- Muscular tension - excessive muscle tension inhibits speed of movement as well as rhythm, timing and flexibility
- Sweaty palms - indicates emotional reactivity and anxiety
- Brainwave activity - EEG biofeedback (Neurofeedback) can be used to enance the athlete's ability to pay attention, control their emotions and "slow down" a busy mind.
- Peripheral body temperature - Measures blood vessel constriction and blood flow in the hands, feet or forehead. Stress can cause blood vessel constriction or shutting down of blood flow which can delay recoery from workouts or injuries