Brain Research To Help Your Athletic Performance
How Your Brain Can Help You Achieve More
Although the notion of using personal development tools to enhance athletic performance is not new, having been started in the early 1920’s, modern brain research has added further insights.
Your brain is constantly changing
Whenever you learn something new, and send it your memory, the structure of your brain changes in minute ways. After all, how could you possibly retrieve that information if it hadn’t caused some kind of physical change to the actual structure of your brain? Modern neuroscience has uncovered the finer details of how this happens.
The technical term for this phenomenon is neuroplasticity, and as the name implies, it suggests that the brain is plastic in nature, as it changes shape according synapse xt to what it encounters. Although this knowledge and the application of specific principles related to it, has meant that people with many physical disabilities, from accidents or strokes can be helped immensely, researchers didn’t understand all the implications involved.
Piano playing, or not, revealed important insights
One of the ways that researchers discovered more about this wonderful phenomenon, by looking at people who hadn’t ever played the piano. They divided them into two groups, and taught them a sequence of notes, showing them how to move their fingers, and letting them hear the notes that they played.
One group sat in front of the piano keyboard, for two hours a day, for five days, and imagined playing the sequence, as well as hearing the result. The other group actually played the piano, for two hours a day, for five days.
Both groups had their brains mapped before the experiment, on every one of the five days and then after the experiment. Both groups were asked to play the sequence, with a computer measuring the accuracy of the performances.
Amazingly, the group that had only done mental practice, experienced the same brain structural changes as the group that did the actual, physical playing. The imaginary players were just as accurate in their sequence playing as the actual players.
Activity and thinking change the brains structure
So, the brain is capable of undergoing structural change when you experience the actual physical movement, but can also experience change when you simply think about the physical movement. This means that you can sit quietly, with your eyes closed, and imagine yourself performing a specific physical action, and your brain will change as much as it would, if you were actually performing that action.
Athletes perform specific physical actions over and over again, striving for perfect movement and form. Although the body is often the focus of attention, the brain can help immensely, moving you to a new level of performance and success. If injured, although your physical fitness levels will go down, you can still practice mental training, and continue enhancing your athletic skill.