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The Effect of an Integrated Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Training Intervention on Ice Hockey Shooting Performance

Sommer Christie, Maurizio Bertollo, and Penny Werthner

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) neurofeedback training (NFT) and biofeedback training (BFT) intervention on ice hockey shooting performance. Specifically, the purpose was to examine (a) whether an NFT/BFT program could improve ice hockey shooting performance, (b) whether the implementation of an SMR-NFT intervention leads to neurological adaptations during performance, and (c) whether such neurological changes account for improvement in shooting performance. Using a longitudinal stratified random control design, results demonstrated that while both SMR-NFT/BFT and control groups improved performance, the rate of improvement for the SMR-NFT/BFT group was significantly higher than the control. Participants in the SMR-NFT/BFT group demonstrated the ability to significantly increase SMR power from pre- to postintervention in the lab. However, no significant changes in SMR power were found during shooting performance. This result may be suggestive of differing cortical activity present during motor-skill preparation.

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The Transition From Sport Psychology to Psychotherapy: The Journey of a Young Athlete Fighting Cancer

Sara Biondi, Cristiana Conti, Emmanouil Georgiadis, and Maurizio Bertollo

The current case study reports an intervention with a young volleyball athlete who was diagnosed with cancer during his early sporting career. The athlete requested both performance-enhancement support and psychotherapeutic intervention (the latter during his illness) from his sport psychologist. The article explores the transition from sport psychology intervention, which started before the appearance of the disease, to psychotherapy and the reflections concerning this unique situation. The fluctuation of the athlete alongside the mental health continuum ranging from a normal (illness-free) state to a mental-illness state was taken into consideration. The theoretical framework adopted by the sport psychologist/psychotherapist consisted of the integration of different approaches: the psychobiosocial model of Individual Zone for Optimal Functioning and relational psychoanalysis, both oriented around the existentialism counseling approach. Reflections on the case include the changes of setting and the development of the relationship between the psychologist/psychotherapist and the athlete during the two intervention phases.

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To Focus or Not to Focus: Is Attention on the Core Components of Action Beneficial for Cycling Performance?

Maurizio Bertollo, Selenia di Fronso, Edson Filho, Vito Lamberti, Patrizio Ripari, Victor Machado Reis, Silvia Comani, Laura Bortoli, and Claudio Robazza

We conducted a counterbalanced repeated measure trial to investigate the effect of different internal and external associative strategies on endurance performance. Seventeen college-aged students were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions to test the notion that different attention-performance types (optimal Type 1, functional Type 2, and dysfunctional Type 3) would influence endurance time on a cycling task. Specifically, Type 1 represented an effortless and automatic, “flow-feeling” attentional mode. Type 2 referred to an associative focus directed at core components of the task. Type 3 represented an attentional focus directed at irrelevant components of the task. Participants completed three time-to-exhaustion-tests while reporting their perceived exertion and affective states (arousal and hedonic tone). Results revealed that Type 1 and Type 2 attentional strategies, compared with Type 3 strategy, exerted functional effects on performance, whereas a Type 3 strategy was linked to lower performance, and lower levels of arousal and pleasantness. Applied implications are discussed.