Chronic stress may represent one of the most important factors that negatively affects the health and performance of athletes. Finding a way to introduce psychological strategies to manage stress in everyday training routines is challenging, particularly in junior teams. We also must consider that a stress management intervention should be regarded as “efficacious” only if its application results in improvement of the complex underlying pathogenetic substratum, which considers mechanistically interrelated factors, such as immunological, endocrine and autonomic controls further to psychological functioning and behavior. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of implementing, in a standard training routine of the junior team of the Italian major soccer league, a stress management program based on mental relaxation training (MRT). We evaluated its effects on stress perception and cardiac autonomic regulation as assessed by means of ANSI, a single composite percentile-ranked proxy of autonomic balance, which is free of gender and age bias, economical, and simple to apply in a clinical setting. We observed that the simple employed MRT intervention was feasible in a female junior soccer team and was associated with a reduced perception of stress, an improved perception of overall health, and a betterment of cardiac autonomic control. This data may corroborate the scientific literature that indicates psychological intervention based on MRT as an efficacious strategy to improve performance, managing negative stress effects on cardiac autonomic control.

Psychological Intervention Based on Mental Relaxation to Manage Stress in Female Junior Elite Soccer Team: Improvement in Cardiac Autonomic Control, Perception of Stress and Overall Health

Giusti E.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Chronic stress may represent one of the most important factors that negatively affects the health and performance of athletes. Finding a way to introduce psychological strategies to manage stress in everyday training routines is challenging, particularly in junior teams. We also must consider that a stress management intervention should be regarded as “efficacious” only if its application results in improvement of the complex underlying pathogenetic substratum, which considers mechanistically interrelated factors, such as immunological, endocrine and autonomic controls further to psychological functioning and behavior. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of implementing, in a standard training routine of the junior team of the Italian major soccer league, a stress management program based on mental relaxation training (MRT). We evaluated its effects on stress perception and cardiac autonomic regulation as assessed by means of ANSI, a single composite percentile-ranked proxy of autonomic balance, which is free of gender and age bias, economical, and simple to apply in a clinical setting. We observed that the simple employed MRT intervention was feasible in a female junior soccer team and was associated with a reduced perception of stress, an improved perception of overall health, and a betterment of cardiac autonomic control. This data may corroborate the scientific literature that indicates psychological intervention based on MRT as an efficacious strategy to improve performance, managing negative stress effects on cardiac autonomic control.
2023
2023
autonomic nervous system; HRV; mental training; psychology; soccer; sport performance; stress management
Pagani, E.; Gavazzoni, N.; Bernardelli, G.; Malacarne, M.; Solaro, N.; Giusti, E.; Castelnuovo, G.; Volpi, P.; Carimati, G.; Lucini, D.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2167983
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