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Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2016 Dec;41(4):421-430.

Increasing Performance of Professional Soccer Players and Elite Track and Field Athletes with Peak Performance Training and Biofeedback: A Pilot Study.

Author information

1
Expertise Group Ambient Intelligence, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Enschede, The Netherlands.
2
Expertise Group Health and Wellbeing, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, M.H. Tromplaan 28, 7500 KB, Enschede, The Netherlands. r.soer@saxion.nl.
3
Groningen Spine Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. r.soer@saxion.nl.
4
De Maar Coaching TCC, Glimmen, The Netherlands.
5
Heartmath Benelux, Meerssen, The Netherlands.
6
Research Group IT Innovations in Healthcare, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, The Netherlands.
7
Twente Medical Systems International, Oldenzaal, The Netherlands.
8
Expertise Group Health and Wellbeing, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, M.H. Tromplaan 28, 7500 KB, Enschede, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of an intervention consisting of mental coaching combined with either electro encephalogram (EEG) alpha power feedback or heart rate variability (HRV) feedback on HRV, EEG outcomes and self-reported factors related to stress, performance, recovery and sleep quality in elite athletes. A prospective pilot study was performed with two distinct cohorts. Soccer players were provided with four sessions of mental coaching combined with daily HRV biofeedback (Group A); track and field athletes were provided with four sessions of mental coaching in combination with daily neurofeedback (Group B). Measurements were performed at baseline, post intervention and at 5 weeks follow-up. Objective measures: EEG and ECG. Subjective measures: Numeric Rating Scale for performance, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Rest and Stress Questionnaire and Sports Improvement-60. Group characteristics were too distinct to compare the interventions. Linear mixed models were used to analyze differences within groups over time. In Group A, significant changes over time were present in alpha power at 5 of 7 EEG locations (p < 0.01-0.03). LF/HF ratio significantly increased (p = 0.02) and the concentration (p = 0.02) and emotional scale (p = 0.03) of the SIM-60 increased significantly (p = 0.04). In Group B, the HRV low frequency power and recovery scale of the REST-Q significantly increased (p = 0.02 and <0.01 resp.). Other measures remained stable or improved non-significantly. A mental coaching program combined with either HRV or EEG alpha power feedback may increase HRV and alpha power and may lead to better performance-related outcomes and stress reduction. Further research is needed to elucidate the effects of either type of feedback and to compare effects with a control group.

KEYWORDS:

Alpha power training; Heart rate variability; Mental stress; Neurofeedback; Running; Soccer; Sports performance

PMID:
27761664
PMCID:
PMC5122600
DOI:
10.1007/s10484-016-9344-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Noortje Rijken declares that she has no conflict of interest. Remko Soer declares that he has no conflict of interest. Wouter Teeuw, declares that he has no conflict of interest. Hilco Prins declares that he has no conflict of interest and Frits Oosterveld declares that he has no conflict of interest. Ewold de Maar is hired as trainer of Heartmath Benelux and owner of a private coaching center. Jan Peusscher is CTO of Twente Medical Systems International, Oldenzaal, The Netherlands. Informed Consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study for the use of their anonimized data. Ethical Approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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