Serenity Now! for Athletes

From a study by Bock, O:
It is well established that listening to music can modify subjects’ cognitive performance. The present study evaluates whether this so-called Mozart Effect extends beyond cognitive tasks and includes sensorimotor adaptation. Three subject groups listened to musical pieces that in the author’s judgment were serene, neutral, or sad, respectively. This judgment was confirmed by the subjects’ introspective reports. While listening to music, subjects engaged in a pointing task that required them to adapt to rotated visual feedback. All three groups adapted successfully, but the speed and magnitude of adaptive improvement was more pronounced with serene music than with the other two music types. In contrast, aftereffects upon restoration of normal feedback were independent of music type. These findings support the existence of a “Mozart effect” for strategic movement control [emphasis added], but not for adaptive recalibration. Possibly, listening to music modifies neural activity in an intertwined cognitive-emotional network.

Man in 1920s baseball costume holds a bat in his left hand

Sheet Music Cover for The Base Ball Quadrille, by Henry von Gudera, published by Henry Tolman & Co.

What doesn’t appear in the above quotation is that this study was done at the Institute of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University. So this study specifically relates to athletic activities, and it appears that listening to serene classical music may improve sports performance on such tasks as catching balls from unexpected directions, and other events (full disclosure: the only sport this author ever managed to successfully participate in was fencing, so I am totally clueless about other sports).
However, some of my more athletically-inclined readers may be able to imagine other situations in various sports, so please feel free to tell me how useful this may be to you, and you are more than welcome to make fun of my cluelessness in sports.

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