Does listening to music help athletes in their performance?


I love basketball and I used to play it Varsity in the B Division when I was in High School. For as long as I could remember, for some odd reason whether before a game or during a workout I found myself listening to music. I would listen to my favorite songs, whether Rap or R&B and I would feel a rush of energy. I personally feel that listening to music helped increase my performance no matter my skill level. Athletes that I look up to and enjoy watching, also listen to music before any game or during a workout. Does listening to music help athletes in their performance?

When looking for things to enhance performance people tend to think of substances and supplements. A number of studies have shown that music can actually enhance the physical abilities and overall focus athletes need before performing. The relationship between music and general performance is known as disassociation. Disassociation is a process that in which an individual detaches himself or herself from a particular activity. Focusing on the music distracts ones attention from the fatigue and pain. I’ve done research that displays the positives and negatives of music and performance.

Throughout the first study it states how research by an Olympic sports psychologist Professor Peter Terry shows that elite athletes can run 18% longer when listening to music. The study didn’t include who these “elite athletes” were. We don’t know their gender, age, or medical history, which are all important information that could impact the study. Also, we don’t know the sample size of the study to determine which could influence whether the study is a fluke or not. In the study Professor Terry’s athletes running on a treadmill could extend themselves eighteen percent longer if they listened to music in tempo with their stride. In the second study British researches asked twelve healthy male college students to ride stationary on bicycles while listening to music of different tempos. Each of the songs differed in tempo from the other bicyclists. The volunteers were told to ride at a speed they felt were comfortable for 30 minutes. As a result of the study researchers found that as the tempo of the music slowed down so did the volunteers pedaling. With a slow tempo the volunteer’s heart rates fell, and their mileage dropped. When the volunteers listened to up tempo music their heart rates rose, they covered more miles, and produced more power with each pedal stroke.

As we can see the two studies display that music does have an affect on athletes performance. But as we learned in class correlation does not equal causation. There could be something else affecting this data-a third variable like physical condition, or willpower, or even the genre of music that play a role in athletes performance. I feel that I can both agree and trust these studies. Both studies are considered experimental. To draw any conclusions I feel that the sample size for both studies needed to be larger and researchers needed to conduct a different type of experiment. Researchers in the second study could have compared those listening to music and those without. And then compared the different tempos of music to see if it had an affect. Age and gender could also play a role in the difference in athlete’s performance.

Therefore, it is hard to conclude for sure if music plays a role in athlete’s performance and how much. But with the research conducted we could see that there is a relationship between the tempos of music and athletes functions. With research, I found two studies and in those two studies athletes ran 18% longer while listening to music, and bicyclists pedaled faster or slower, gained more mileage or slowed down, based on the tempo of music. I personally am convinced that music plays a role in athlete’s performance due to experience but that isn’t enough, and there isn’t enough information to draw a general conclusion. There needs to be more evidence to consider if music plays a positive role on athlete’s performance.

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