Neuroscientists on Sports: Picturing Yourself Winning Could Actually Make You Win [VIDEO]By Anita V, UniversityHerald Reporter
Looking back to the Leicester City winning, it is a rare occasion to watch the team being celebrated globally, not particularly because of their win but because of the surprising fact that they could actually win. The so-called underdog team might have done rigorous trainings and improved strategies but neuroscientists backed the victory with explainable theories, far beyond technical.
Mental practice increases the chance of winning a game
Daniel Glaser, scientist at King's College London explains that mental practice has become one of the scientific focuses as it is found to improve physical performance from within. Evidence showed a group of people, asked to lift fingers for a thousand times. Behind the scene, there is an instrument to monitor their muscles in a way, so that no force was used. The process ended with a test to lift weight. The result? People who have done mental exercise lift more with their fingers.
A journal published in Frontier's Human Neuroscience, talks about finger exercise that was done in 2005 where an adult played piano with five fingers, for five days. An obvious result would be 'an improved performance' but there is also an improvement in the sensory system.
Feeling the optimism
Time has learned that military recruits are not taught on how to fight but they are given motivation, an optimism that will increase their productivity and make them more successful
In the book, The Antidote, an experiment on subjects who are told of an unfortunate event but advised not to be sad, suffered from worse pain disorders. However, people who listened to relaxing content were said to improve their feelings. Hence, the result highlights the fact that people with the most effort might end up at a worse condition.
The mind games
An athlete needs more than just physical prowess in order to achieve a higher level of achievements. There is something - a lightning quick mental process - a mind game that will allow them to think 'they can'.
Another great example of this is the Nascar drivers who need to have a quick decision-making process while driving and avoid spinning. The players' cognitive skills have to be well trained. Cognitive here, includes memory, focus and mental health, CNet has learned.
This also explains why many smartphone apps are aiming at 'increasing the effort level' rather than just 'monitoring the progresses. According to psychologists, the effort level is vital for any athlete to reach higher results in their performance.
Regardless of what mental exercise Leicester City could be applying, scientists suggest athletes to combine both mental and skill trainings to boost cognitive performance as they are found to be more beneficial than doing only one of the activities.