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Peter Gröpel and Jürgen Beckmann

Researchers suggests that a pre-performance routine (PPR) can improve performance in competitions. The effectiveness of left-hand contractions, a PPR to trigger facilitative cortical processes for skilled motor performance, was tested in two studies. In Study 1, gymnasts competing at the German university championships in artistic gymnastics performed their routines with or without the PPR. In Study 2, gymnasts performed the balance beam exercise either using the PPR or the control task (right-hand contractions) under simulated competition pressure. The qualification performance (Study 1) and the pressure-free performance (Study 2) were controlled. In both studies, participants in the PPR group performed better than control participants. The results indicate that left-hand contractions may be a useful PPR in the field.

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Peter Gröpel, Christopher Mesagno and Jürgen Beckmann

Evidence shows that using a preshot routine (PSR) improves performance in self-paced, closed-skill tasks. A PSR is a set of cognitive and behavioral elements an athlete systematically engages in prior to performance execution. The present study describes the implementation and evaluation of a PSR intervention with elite pistol shooters in the 10-m air-pistol discipline. Individualized PSRs were developed with the shooters in individual psychological sessions, and the PSRs were then practiced in subsequent training sessions. Intervention effectiveness was evaluated by analyzing the shooters’ competition performance. Overall, the shooters improved on average by 2.5 points from before to after the intervention. This improvement was unlikely due to seasonal effect, as the league average (scores of league shooters not included in the intervention sample) remained stable during the study time. These results indicate that using a PSR before a shooting series has benefits for subsequent shooting performance.