Friday, 9 January 2015

Workshop - Dr. Penny Werthner & Marc Saab, MEng.

Practical Applications of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback in Sports
Penny Werthner, PhD, Marc Saab, MEng.
2-day Workshop

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

Penny Werthner, PhD, is Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. She is a former Olympic athlete in Athletics and has worked with coaches and athletes over the span of nine summer and winter Olympic Games, from the 1988 winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada to the more recent 2012 summer Olympic Games in London, UK and 2014 winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. She has worked with athletes and their coaches in sports such as white water and flat water canoe kayak, diving, speed skating, athletics and para athletics, cycling, women’s ice hockey, and women’s soccer. She teaches sport psychology skills and leadership skills to national coaches through the Canadian National Coaching Certification Program.

Marc Saab, MEng

Marc Saab is the Director of Peak Performance for Montreal based Thought Technology Ltd.. Thought Technology has worked with athletes and top executive performers in self-regulation for over 35 years, becoming a leader in the technology that is becoming increasingly important in sport performance. In 2006, Marc collaborated with the Director of Sports Psychology of Italy’s AC Milan, Dr Bruno DeMichelis, to create the Mind Room, a specialized centre within Milan Lab for peak performance biofeedback and neurofeedback. Since then, professional and Olympic teams all over the world have implemented similar technology and methodology to better prepare for performance. Marc holds a Masters of Biomedical Engineering from McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute. His published research includes automatic early detection of epileptic seizures and other neurophysiological events in scalp and depth electroencephalography, and several articles discussing neurophysiology and peak performance. He lives in Montreal, Canada with his wife, daughter and their two dogs.