, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 131-144
Date: 09 Mar 2012

The Effect of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback on Performance Psychology of Basketball Players

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Abstract

Coping with pressure and anxiety is an ineluctable demand of sports performance. Heart rate variability (HRV) Biofeedback (BFB) shall be used as a tool for self regulating physiological responses resulting in improved psycho physiological interactions. For further analysis, the present study has been designed to examine the relationship between anxiety and performance and also effectiveness of biofeedback protocol to create stress-eliciting situation in basketball players. Thirty basketball players of university level and above (both male and female) aged 18–28 years, who scored a minimum of 20 in state trait anxiety inventory, were randomly divided into three equal groups- Experimental (Biofeedback) group, Placebo group and Control (No Treatment) group. The BFB group received HRV BFB training for 10 consecutive days for 20 min that included breathing at individual’s resonant frequency through a pacing stimulus; Placebo group was shown motivational video clips for 10 consecutive days for 10 min, whereas No Treatment Control group was not given any intervention. Two way repeated measure ANOVA was applied to analyze the differences within and between the groups. Anxiety, coping self-efficacy, heart rate variability, respiration rate, and performance (dribbling, passing and shooting) at session 1, 10 and 1 month follow up were statistically significant in each group along with interaction of group and time (p < 0.001). Also, all the measures showed statistically significant inter group difference (p < 0.05). The findings are harmonious with existing data on HRV BFB as a strategy for dealing with anxiety. The Placebo group showed improvement in self efficacy and performance post training. The Control group showed no change in any variable except performance. The results of the study support the idea that HRV BFB lowers the anxiety and thus there seems to be a potential association between HRV BFB and performance optimization.