Staying 'in the zone' is a phrase used a lot by trainers
about athletes, martial artists certainly practice states of inner calm
preceding a vigorous and energetic bout of combat or display.
Alpha waves and performace and the left side.
Increases of Alpha brain waves (often in the left side of the brain)
have been shown by sports scientist to precede peak performance. One
key difference between novice and elite athletes is in their brain waves.
Just before his best free kick, an elite football player will produce
a burst of Alpha waves on the left side of their brain.
Golf and Alpha
Just before their best strokes, elite golfers will produce a burst of
Alpha waves in their left brain. Just before their best shots, elite
marksmen and archers will produce a burst of Alpha waves in their left
brains. Novice and intermediate athletes do not show this Alpha brain
wave pattern. However, one study of archers training over many weeks,
showed that as they improved their performance, they gradually increased
the amount of left brain Alpha waves which occurred just before their
best shots. The Alpha brain waves seemed to be essential for peak performance
and were increased, albeit slowly, by the archery training.
Golf performance enhancement by means of ‘real-life neurofeedback’ training based on personalized event-locked EEG profiles
This study reports on a new method for golf performance enhancement employing personalized real-life neurofeedback during golf putting using the wireless Brainquiry PET EEG neurofeedback equipment. Participants (n=6) received an assessment and three real-life neurofeedback training sessions. In the assessment, a personal event-locked EEG profile was determined for successful vs. unsuccessful puts. Target frequency bands and amplitudes marking optimal mindset were derived from the profile by two raters. The training sessions consisted of four series of 80 puts in an ABAB design. The feedback in the second and fourth series was administered in the form of a continuous NoGo tone, whereas in the first and third series no feedback was provided. This tone was terminated only when the participants EEG met the assessment-defined criteria. In these series, participants were instructed to perform the put only after the NoGo tone had ceased.
From the personalized event-locked EEG profiles individual training profiles were established. The inter-rater reliability was 91%. The overall percentage of successful puts was significantly larger in the second and fourth series of training compared to the first and third series.
This study demonstrates that the ‘zone’ or the optimal mental state for golf putting shows clear recognizable personalized patterns. Furthermore, most subjects improved their performance with feedback on their personalized EEG profile with 25% on average. The learning effects suggest that this real-life approach to neurofeedback improves learning speed, probably by tapping into learning associated with classical conditioning rather then operant conditioning, indicating perspectives for clinical applications.
See below 2 video's demonstrating this principle: The different lines in the video represent the following starting from top to bottom: Raw EEG, ECG, Slow Cortical Potential (SCP), Theta, Alpha, Event Channel (= ball impact), SMR and Beta.
Click to enlarge:
Movie 1: A succesful put: Note the alpha burst (green line) just prior to the ball impact. The circled Theta and SCP phenomena probably represent a bereitschaftspotential or readiness potential, since it is seen in both succesful and unsuccesful puts, and hence not related to performance.
Movie 2: An unsuccesful put: Note the absence of an alpha burst (green line) just prior to the ball impact. The circled Theta and SCP phenomena probably represent a bereitschaftspotential or readiness potential, since it is seen in both succesful and unsuccesful puts, and hence not related to performance.
1 Martijn Arns, 2 Michiel Kleinnijenhuis, 3 Kamran Fallahpour & 2,4
1 Brainclinics Diagnostics B.V., Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2 Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3 Brain Resource Center, New York, US ; Brainquiry LLC, New York, US
4 EEG Resource Institute, Nijmegen, The Netherlands