Golf Performance Enhancement and Real-Life Neurofeedback Training Using Personalized Event-Locked EEG Profiles

Martijn Arns, Michiel Kleinnijenhuis, Kamran Fallahpour, Rien Breteler

Abstract


Background. This study reports on a new method for golf performance enhancement employing personalized real-life neurofeedback during golf putting. Method. Participants (n = 6) received an assessment and three real-life neurofeedback training sessions. In the assessment, a personal event-locked electroencephalographic (EEG) profile at FPz was determined for successful versus unsuccessful putts. Target frequency bands and amplitudes marking optimal prefrontal brain state were derived from the profile by two raters. The training sessions consisted of four series of 80 putts in an ABAB design. The feedback in the second and fourth series was administered in the form of a continuous NoGo tone, whereas in the first and third series no feedback was provided. This tone was terminated only when the participants EEG met the assessment-defined criteria. In the feedback series, participants were instructed to perform the putt only after the NoGo tone had ceased. Results. From the personalized event-locked EEG profiles, individual training protocols were established. The interrater reliability was 91%. The overall percentage of successful putts was significantly larger in the second and fourth series (feedback) of training compared to the first and third series (no feedback). Furthermore, most participants improved their performance with feedback on their personalized EEG profile, with 25% on average. Conclusions. This study demonstrates that the ‘‘zone’’ or the optimal mental state for golf putting shows clear recognizable personalized patterns. The learning effects suggest that this real-life approach to neurofeedback improves learning speed, probably by tapping into learning associated with contextual conditioning rather than operant conditioning, indicating perspectives for clinical applications.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10874200802149656

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