Psychologically competition represents a stress-inducing stimulus. When this stimulus approaches, a status which can be described in physiological and psychological terms results: the pre-start-situation.

This situation causes changes in the biochemistry of the body, in skin resistance, in brain wave patterns and in many other physical processes. Among these processes pulse frequency is most easily measured and gives clear results. This was demonstrated by investigations carried out on students before a 400 m sprint, before trampolin exercises, before diving, before practical examinations in basketball, gymnastics and swimming, and before written examinations. It was found that quite often the pulse rates due to stress before an exam are higher than during the actual exam itself.

In clinical treatment of psychosomatic diseases breathing-biofeedback has proven to be a suitable method of controlling central nervous processes. But the question still remained whether this method could be helpful in sports competition situations. This was investigated with a group of students to see particularly whether breathing-biofeedback is useful for the control of the pre-start-situation, a condition of stress. It was found that this kind of a biofeedback training can indeed reduce the pulse frequency, a sign of stress, during the pre-start situation.

Breathing-Biofeedback as a Possibility for Regulating the Pre-Start-Situation


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

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  • M. Schmole

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