Practical Applications of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback in Sports
Penny Werthner, PhD, Marc Saab, MEng.
Penny Werthner, PhD, has, since 2006, been using the tools of biofeedback, neurofeedback, and psychophysiological assessment to complement her practice with high performance athletes and coaches. The techniques are based on quantification of the autonomic nervous system for use in a self-regulation paradigm. This offers the athlete the awareness of how their individual stress response can manifest itself physiologically, as the production of adrenaline and cortisol introduce short and long term changes in the muscles and organs of the body. With that awareness in place, the athlete can begin self-regulation training to build performance based strategies for conscious control of the underlying mechanisms. Anxiety response, mental acuity, reaction time and recovery time are fine-tuned, essentially offering the athlete tools to maximize the probability of effortless performance. Athletes learn to associate physiological markers with moments of excellence, essentially learning to enter the sought-after “zone” more quickly and for longer periods of time and to control the moments that can hinder performance. The strategies for awareness, mental and emotional preparation, performance and recovery are all addressed using similar technique, used by athletes and coaches to prepare psychologically for both the training environment and the highly stressful environment of Olympic Games and World Championships.
This workshop will:
- Present the underlying mechanisms of the ANS response to stress and describe the manifestation in context of elite athletic training and performance
- allow participants to understand how to work effectively with athletes and coaches to integrate the methods in a formal training paradigm
- delineate the key psychological skills necessary for athletes to develop
- discuss and demonstrate relevant assessment tools and methods for use of biofeedback and neurofeedback with athletes
- discuss the importance of including coaches in the learning process
- utilize several case studies of Olympic medalists to illustrate how to individualize the specific training protocols
- discuss the critical techniques required for effective transfer of the skills to the training and competitive setting
Dr. Penny Werthner
Marc Saab, MEng