Against medicine "suffocation under pressure"

“Choking under pressure” means when people fail under stress, for example during a competition. The situation is also familiar to students who do not have access to information previously acquired in exams or to public speakers who suddenly do not get their word out at the crucial moment.

Working group on sports psychology, led by prof. Jürgen Beckmann has been studying this phenomenon for several years in the search for solutions. Studies of various sports such as , beach volleyball, soccer, golf, taekwondo and gymnastics show that dynamic squeezing of the ball with the left hand is effective for right-handers to prevent suffocation.

Trick with his left hand

“We have already succeeded in demonstrating the positive effects of dynamic left-hand squeezing in several sports,” says prof. Beckmann. “Our idea was to move this technology to . Accordingly, we asked male athletes in our study, ages 17-18, to squeeze a tennis ball dynamically with their left hand just before passing.”

“In the current study, we’re looking at the input accuracy of tennis, which was meant to be placed as close as possible to a specific ,” the doctor explains. Vanessa WerginResearcher in the Sports Psychology Working Group and co-author of the publication.

Squeezing increases accuracy

The study divided the participants into two groups. group performed a dynamic squeezing with the left hand on a tennis ball for 10–15 seconds immediately before serving, while another group actively squeezed the racket grip with the right hand for the same .

The two teams then made eight passes each with a specific goal in the first round without pressure, followed by another eight assists under pressure. In the group that squeezed the ball with the left hand, the accuracy remained stable in both passes. In contrast, the distance of the feeds from the finish increased in the second group under pressure, indicating a decrease in performance.

The compression signal causes relaxation in the brain

“The basic assumption was that the right hemisphere contributes to the holistic realization of highly automated motor skill, while activating verbal representations of skills in the left hemisphere leads to more fragmentation of movement performance. This impairs movement flow and increases inaccuracy,” says prof. Beckmann. Thus, for right-handers, squeezing with the left hand results in a stronger activation of the right hemisphere.

“However, further studies by our team showed that the left hand’s dynamic squeezing instead triggers a more relaxing effect, which we call the ‘reset mechanism,’” adds . Wergin.

EEG findings suggest that activation of the right hemisphere is not increased, but fear-related, disruptive linguistic representations in the left hemisphere are blocked, allowing automatic movement to be performed again. consecutively.

Also, a fist squeezed without a ball helps

“The advantage of tennis, of course, is that players already have the ball in their hand,” Dr. Wergin says. “The stiffness of a tennis ball is also great for dynamic compression. Greater resistance is needed to get the best effect.”

“The findings are very significant in practice,” says Professor Beckmann. “Squeezing can become part of the passing routine that players usually perform before passing. But the suitability of dynamic hand squeezing with the left hand goes far beyond tennis tournaments.”

Artists appearing after an article in Scientific American said they successfully used hand squeezing in their performances. The team has also conducted preliminary studies in patients with inorganic , and the results have been very promising.

And if the ball isn’t on hand, squeezing your left hand into a fist and squeezing for 15 seconds can help. It is not yet certain whether left-handers can use the right hand accordingly. So far, the research team has only studied right-handed, as the interaction of different brain regions is usually more local to right-handed than to left-handed.

Source: Munich University of Technology (TUM)

Source: The Nordic Page


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