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Neurofeedback for Cognitive/Sports Performance

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive technique that helps regulate brain activity, and has shown promise as a cognitive performance enhancer based on a growing body of evidence. Numerous studies have suggested that neurofeedback can lead to improvements in mental clarity, working memory, and overall brain functioning. Neurofeedback interventions often focus on frequency bands such as beta waves, associated with alertness and concentration, and theta waves, linked to memory and creative processes. This training can lead to improvements in attention, memory, and executive functions. The underlying principle involves the reinforcement of desired brainwave patterns through operant conditioning.

Neurofeedback for sports performance involves a training technique that aims to enhance an athlete's cognitive and physiological functions by providing real-time feedback on their brainwave activity. Through this process, athletes can learn to optimize mental states such as focus, relaxation, and mental resilience, potentially improving overall performance on the field or in competition.

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Tobias Harris

Uses neurofeedback to improve his concentration and focus on the court.

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Jason Day

"My mental game has improved 110 percent since working with neurofeedback."


Tony Robbins

"Neurofeedback enhanced my ability to multitask, and as a creative professional, I now have the ability to visualize two separate tasks simultaneously."


Ben Greenfield

"Neurofeedback is meditation on steroids."

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Kirk Cousins

"Neurofeedback has been a great tool for me to help me stay focused and locked-in during games. It's helped me to train my brain to be more efficient and to be able to handle pressure better. I think it's a great tool for any athlete who wants to improve their performance."

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  • A 2022 article in the journal Brain Sciences found that neurofeedback testing groups showed "superior beneficial effects on episodic memory, working memory, and attention compared to the cognitive training groups alone ... In addition, the neurofeedback group showed an increase in brain activity during cognitive training, which was associated with improvements in cognitive function."

  • A 2017 meta-study of neurofeedback as related to athletic performance concluded, "Neurofeedback training appears to be a powerful tool for training performance-enhancing self-regulation of brain states. As such, it has been deemed useful for improving sports performance." 

  • In a study of surgeons who completed eight 30-minute sessions of neurofeedback, the authors concluded, "Neurofeedback training provided significant improvement in surgical technique whilst considerably reducing time on task by 26%." 

  • Twenty-three controlled studies (Gruzelier, 2014) have shown neurofeedback-related gains in sustained attention, orienting and executive attention, event-related potential, memory, spatial rotation, reaction time, and complex psychomotor skills, implicit procedural memory, recognition memory, perceptual binding, intelligence, mood, and well-being.

A word about expectations and outcomes with NFB

Neurofeedback can be a promising avenue for performance enhancement, but it's important to approach it with realistic expectations and dedication. Here's what you should keep in mind:

  • Realistic Expectations: Understand that neurofeedback is not a magic solution. Set achievable goals and be patient with the process.

  • Active Participation: Success in neurofeedback depends on your active involvement. It's not a passive treatment. You must engage in the training process, stay committed, and work closely with your healthcare provider.

  • Consistency Is Key: Consistent training is essential for seeing results. Make a schedule and stick to it. Regular and ongoing sessions are more likely to lead to positive outcomes.

  • Communication: Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider. Share your progress, concerns, and any changes in your symptoms. This feedback will help tailor the neurofeedback protocol to your specific needs.

  • Lifestyle Factors: Neurofeedback is most effective when combined with a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management can complement the benefits of neurofeedback.

  • Complementary Strategies: Consider combining neurofeedback with other evidence-based treatments, such as behavioral therapy or medication, as recommended by your healthcare provider.

  • Individual Variability: Remember that responses to neurofeedback vary from person to person. What works for one individual may not work the same way for another. Be open to adjusting the training based on your unique needs.

  • Long-Term Commitment: Think of neurofeedback as a long-term commitment. Positive changes may take time, and maintenance sessions might be necessary to sustain the benefits. A typical course of neurofeedback for performance enhancement is 20-40 sessions. 

  • Final Outcomes: No treatment option is 100% guaranteed. Though neurofeedback has shown efficacy in treatment, it should not be expected to completely eliminate symptoms or be a replacement for medication.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

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