The effects of mental training on specific physiological indices of elite Asian female athletes

Xue Qin DING, Ming Kai CHIN, Liwei ZHANG, Robert N. GIRANDOLA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Eight elite female athletes from Hong Kong in the sports of table tennis, rowing and fencing participated in an 8-month mental training program which was quite individualized. The program included consultation talk and relaxation-imagery training. A Procomp Computer Biofeedback System and 6 physiological indices were used to test the effects of the program, including electromyography (EMG) of forehead, skin conductance (SC) of finger, skin temperature (ST) of center of palm, blood volume pressure (BVP) of finger and heart rate (HR). The results showed Vat the lowest values of forehead EMG (v) and HR (b/min) during the post-experiment were lower than those of pre-experiment in the condition of relaxation (p<.05). The highest values of forehead EMG (v) and HR (b/min) of the post-experiment were higher than those of pre-experiment in the condition of imagery (p<.05). The difference value of post-experiment between the lowest EMG during relaxation and the highest EMG during imagery reached 33.6v, which was much higher than 8.22v of pre-experiment (p<.05). The difference value d post-experiment between the lowest HR during relaxation and the highest HR during imagery reached 39.2 b/min, which was much higher than 24.2 b/min of pre-experiment (p<.01). The difference value of post-experiment between the lowest SC during relaxation and the highest SC during imagery reached 1.81v, which was much higher than 0.41v of pre-experiment (p<.01). The ST (C) and BVP (%/) showed the same trends, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. These changes suggested the improvement of psychological skill after mental training. The values for EMG, SC and HR were lower and stable in the condition of relaxation and significantly increased in the condition of imagery, which indicated two-way changes of arousal in the brain. Three indices of EMG, SC and HR changed synchronously during mental training practice, especially when audio and visual stimuli were given. This study suggested that EMG, SC and HR were more effective than ST and BVP in terms of evaluating athletes' mental state and testing effects of mental training. Copyright © 1999 The Korean Society of Exercise Physiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-298
JournalExercise Science
Volume8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Citation

Ding, X., Chin, M.-K., Zhang, L., & Girandola, R. N. (1999). The effects of mental training on specific physiological indices of elite Asian female athletes. Exercise Science, 8(2), 283-298.

Keywords

  • Mental and training
  • Relaxation
  • Imagery
  • Biofeedback
  • Physiology

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