Does Neurofeedback Training Improve Performance in Athletes?

  • Christophe Domingos Faculty of Human Kinetics
  • Cristiana P. Alves Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon
  • Edgar Sousa Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon
  • Agostinho Rosa Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon
  • José G. Pereira Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon
Keywords: Neurofeedback training, athletic training, reaction time, short-term memory, performance, individual alpha band


Introduction: Neurofeedback training has been an increasingly used technique in sport; however, most of the protocols used in athletes are based in the results obtained in nonathletic population. Purpose: Understand if a specific neurofeedback training protocol implemented in a nonathletic population can improve short-term memory and reaction time in athletes. Methods: A total of 45 subjects participated in the experiment (mean ± SD for age: 23.31 ± 4.20 years). For athletes, 12 neurofeedback training sessions were performed; for the nonathletes, 15 neurofeedback training were performed. Each session had 25 min of effective neurofeedback training. Results: Despite the nonathletes group’s increased standard alpha band (SAB) relative amplitude and individual alpha band (IAB) relative amplitude after 12 sessions of neurofeedback training (p < .005), only the athletes intervention group had positive results in reaction time (p < .001 in oddball test). Not only was the null hypothesis rejected by the differences of IAB and SAB relative amplitudes between and within protocols but also by the performance tests. Conclusion: Neurofeedback training increases the relative amplitude of the bands in the nonathletes group; however, only the athletes have shown to improve performances tests after 12 neurofeedback training sessions.


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