Neurofeedback's big claim to fame so far is its little-publicized connection to this year's World Cup. In February, months before the tournament started, some of Italy's best soccer players, including a handful who would later play in the Cup, began spending much of their practice time in a small room in Milan furnished with six luxury leather recliners facing a glass wall.
On the other side of the glass Bruno De Michelis, head of the sports science lab for AC Milan, one of the country's top professional teams, monitored a bank of six computer screens wired to a system made by Thought Technology Ltd., a Canadian company. The screens showing how each player's brain responded to stressful situations. Some players, the data showed, were nervous about doing mental exercises in front of their teammates, while others either had trouble winding down after a match or winding up before one. In the following weeks, the players spent hours working on these issues through a series of exercises that resembled computer games, with the brain as the joystick.
Mr. De Michelis says a tremendous amount of energy in soccer games goes to waste because players lose concentration during key moments, like penalty kicks. "I call this useless suffering," he says. "We can't do magic here, but it can be of some help."
Having the ability to tune out distractions during competition -- known as having a "quiet mind" -- is one of the holy grails of sports. Jocks believe that the capacity to have extreme concentration during stressful moments gives you a big edge, whether it's a basketball player staying focused on the hoop while thousands of fans are waving their arms in the background, or a tennis player learning not to berate himself for a bad shot.
Dr. Sue Wilson introduces some of the key techniques being used to optimize performance and health using the world’s leading “Infiniti” biofeedback system. Olympic Athletes, Top Executives and world class performers in the arts need to be able to manage their energy and resources. Whether their area of excellence is business, sports or the performing arts, elite performers share an important characteristic. They are able to enter a state where they are totally focused on what they do. They have learned to bring themselves to a place that combines mental clarity and sustained energy with a sense of inner calm and active engagement. Virtually everyone experiences these "moments of flow" at some point in their lives. Elite performers learn how to access them when they need to, whether they are performing before a live audience, closing an important deal, helping a troubled patient or merely playing a game of golf with a friend.
The Biofeedback Foundation of Europe is a non-profit organization located in the Netherlands. The BFE was founded to promote a greater awareness of biofeedback among European health professionals, and, through training workshops, educate clinicians in the use of biofeedback techniques and technology. In the evolving field of elite performance and health for elite athletes biofeedback and Neurofeedback are playing an increasingly more important role. Athletic trainers, coaches, sports professionals in various specialties have come to use biofeedback either independently or as an adjunctive technique with positive results. For more information on BFE online courses, workshops and conferences worldwide see the website www.bfe.org