Music is a powerful tool used by many athletes to help get them into the perfect mindset for training and competing. The question is, just how powerful is music to an athlete’s performance? The answer for many athletes is VERY.
In recent studies, music has shown to help athletes reduce feelings of fatigue, increase their tolerance to pain, and improve their mood and motivation. In addition, athletes who tap into the right music find it easier to block out feelings of panic and worry and in some cases redirect their focus to feelings of confidence and success.
Recently, coaches have started using music more in their training programs as a way to improve the experience of hard and often monotonous physical training. One effective way to enhance team performance is for the coach to use inspirational or upbeat music for high intensity workouts and softer music for recovery periods. Music must be updated consistently and the athletes should be surveyed to see what music they like. A more effective approach for coaches is to have each athlete create and listen to a play list of their favorite music for specific parts of their training and visualize the impact that each song will have in those moments.
Is music always the solution to improved training and performance? No. Research has shown that music can decrease an athlete’s attention when learning new skills. Also, the benefits of music depends on how athletes associate themselves with their environment. Some athletes prefer to associate themselves with everything in their environment while others prefer and in many cases need distractions or ways to separate themselves from many of the things in their in environment. Science has shown that athletes who need to dissociate themselves from the environment (and in many cases, their perceptions of their environment) tend to benefit the most from music.
Overall, music is something that I encourage all athletes to explore when evaluating their thoughts and feelings about their training and competition experiences.
Patrick Alban B.S., M.S.
To read more from Patrick Albán B.S., M.S., visit goSPMI.com.
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