Growing evidence suggests that Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback (BFB) may improve sport performance by helping athletes cope with the stress of competition. This study sought to identify whether HRV BFB procedure impacted psychological, physiological, and sport performance of a collegiate golfer. This individual volunteered to participate in 10 weeks of HRV BFB training according to the protocol developed by Leher, Vaschillo, and Vaschillo (2000). During the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth weeks of the study, the golfer and lead author met at a virtual reality golf center to practice skills for breathing at resonance frequency during golf performance. Golf performance and HR were recorded during nine holes of virtual reality golf before and after 10 weeks of HRV BFB training. Self-report questionnaires were administered also before and after HRV BFB training to measure symptoms of anxiety, stress, and sensation seeking. Physiological measures, including HRV and respiration rate, were recorded in the lab during the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth weeks of the study. Reduction in symptoms of anxiety, stress, and sensation seeking and increases in total HRV, low-frequency HRV, and amplitude of oscillation at .1 Hz and improved sport performance were observed. This effect became stronger across 10 weeks of HRV BFB training. A larger-scale study was conducted and is in the process of analysis to confirm these findings.
Virtual Reality–Assisted Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback as a Strategy to Improve Golf Performance: A Case Study
Leah Lagos, Evgeny Vaschillo, Bronya Vaschillo, Paul Lehrer, Marsha Bates, Robert Pandina; Virtual Reality–Assisted Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback as a Strategy to Improve Golf Performance: A Case Study. Biofeedback 1 June 2011; 39 (1): 15–20. doi: https://doi.org/10.5298/1081-5937-39.1.11
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