To perform at your best the body and mind must work together and it is in this state where you will achieve success. The techniques employed in relaxation can vary in length, some are short and can be effective in just a few seconds, however, some may take rather longer and subsequently longer to achieve a relaxation response. Strategies have seen shown to have a positive effect on reducing muscle tension, state anxiety and psychological arousal. However, whether it will help performance will depend on whether the relaxed state induced suits the need of the moment. It’s the optimisation rather than the reduction of arousal that is important.
There are important factors to recognise with relaxation techniques: Practice is important as the athlete will have to learn the process and this may take weeks or even months before it can be used effectively and efficiently enough. The strategies will have to be practised until the athlete can perform these sequences instantly and slide into their state. The athlete has to take control of their state the intention of the relaxation techniques is to induce a positive state which is congruent with their actions.
Edmond Jacobson (1929, 1976), the athlete is required to tense their body before relaxing it. This provides feedback and enhances the awareness of how much tension within a muscle can fluctuate and what it feels like for the muscle to be relaxed.
Johannes Schultz (1959), a form of self-hypnosis is used to enable the individual to achieve a relaxed state through self-awareness of the level of muscle tension, an association of muscle relaxation with heaviness and warmth in their limbs through the use of breathing exercises and by the repetition of statements such as ‘ i feel relaxed’
This technique is a form of meditation. The Technique involves a concentration on breathing, muscle relaxation, visualisation and the repetition of a concentration-inducing sound known as the mantra.
Biofeedback uses external feedback mechanisms to provide or enhance the awareness in order for the individual to recognise or make association with the activity of the autonomic nervous system. In learning to control of factors like, heart rate, muscle tension, skin temperature and so on the athlete is indirectly learning to take control of physiological change to the body in the forms of arousal and anxiety.