Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mental timing interventions for sports

I just added a new feature to the IQ Brain Clock. On the right side of this blog is a new section called "Timing Interventions." In this section I'm going to provide links to any intervention programs I locate that implicitly or explicitly seem to be dealing with the brain's master internal clock (interval or mental time-keeping).

To date I am only aware of two such programs. One, which I've mentioned before is Interactive Metronome (please click here for a conflict of interest disclosure). The second, which is advertised as a separate product, is actually the IM program adapted for sports. In particular, IM has produced a product called the Groove, which is marketed as a method for improving golf performance. You can check out the claims and watch some videos at the Groove web page.

Also....while poking around the Groove web site I found a video (the ESPN Game Day icon/link on their page) that shows that the IM program was used to improve college football player performance at Notre Dame. Be aware, these are largely testimonials. When and if I can locate any actual empirical studies to support these claims, I'll make the appropriate post.

If any reader can direct me to empirical reports that support the sports performance enhancement via SMT (synchronoized metronome tapping), please drop me a note via the "comment" feature.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of comments regarding the use of Interactive Metronome (IM) in sports. First of all, I'm not so sure it's accurate to say that the Grove "is actually the IM program adapted for sports." Granted, the Grove makes use of IM hardware, but I think the Grove comes with only a hand trigger and not the additional foot trigger. The original golf study was done with the standard full IM hardware and utilized a full IM training program, so I don't know how the original results would generalize to the Grove. I would think that an effective timing program for sports would need to include both upper and lower body exercises, as well as sequecing exercises between the two. However, I don't own the Grove and have only read about it on the web, so I could be wrong about its limitations.

I have some limited experience with using IM with athletes, and it appears to have had a very positive impact on sports performance....not only with motor timing but also with what might be called court awareness.

Beyond the golf study, I'm also not aware of any published research using IM with sports. However, have you seen the old article titled "Rhythm Is Going To Get You" by Juan Carlos Santana, excerpted from Sports Medicine Update, that IM use to make available as a handout for providers? This article covers the original golf study results and the St. Thomas Aquinas Football Team results, as well as a few other findings in regard to sports. For example, this article refers to a pilot study done by the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Fla. about how "IM-Powered Training" improved performance in a standing vertical jump test and the 5-10-5 shuttle run. Only 8 subjects took part in the program. "Shuttle run post-test results were an average .21 seconds faster. Vertical jump post-test results were an average 1.51 inches higher."

I noticed in your PPT presentation about "Interactive Metronome: Whats happening under the hood" that you mentioned a tennis performance study with 8-10 year olds that is in press. Can you say more about this study? Was the full IM program used? What aspects of tennis performace were studied and how did they measure this?

Fred B. Bramble, Ph.D.