Adaptive biofeedback: the data-driven future of pro soccer

Adaptive biofeedback: the data-driven future of pro soccer

The mental stress experienced by soccer players may negatively influence their playing performance. Excessive tension of the player can result in various emotional problems, such as loss of composure, aggression, anger, regression and fear, and it can put players at a higher risk of injury due to the decreased response time and disorientated attention level. 

Biofeedback (BFB) is one of the most powerful means to cope with competitive stress, helping the soccer player to lower arousal, improve self-regulation skills and optimize their resiliency to competitive stress.  

Through the regular biofeedback training, the soccer players learn and train skills to lower their arousal level, increase the natural heart rate variability, and regulate stress in a healthy range to feel motivated and to perform effectively.

‘Infinity’ biofeedback system

The ‘Infinity’ biofeedback system is a multi-modal, adaptive biofeedback system, built in a cooperation between TU/e ID and PSV, and represents a data-driven approach to improving performance complementary to traditional training programs. In the biofeedback program, physiological data such as heart rate and Galvanic Skin Response are mapped to audio-visual signals and presented to the players through interactive media installed in the Mind Room.

The ‘Infinity’ is different compared to other clinical or traditional biofeedback devices in the sense that it improves the experience and acceptance through better visual and auditory channels, it improves situational stress resiliency through the use of a stressor that is similar to situations soccer players encounter, and it shortens the learning curve through adaptive bio-feedback. The adaptiveness of the biofeedback program may reduce the learning curve and also keep the users motivated and highly engaged.

The physical room that is currently being installed at the PSV training centre includes a large-scale wall projection, ambient lighting, and surround sound. A longitudinal experiment with a selected group of soccer players will be carried out in April and May 2017.