Inspiration

Looking to Up Your Athletic Performance? Research Suggest Tapping Can Help

Written by: Nick Ortner

Tapping has been used for a very long time by athletes. But it wasn’t until the last decade or two that the scientific research began to catch up with what many athletes already know: Tapping really can work wonders to up your game! 

Let’s dive a little bit into that research and learn more about why Tapping can be so helpful in the context of sports and athletics.

Research shows Tapping can help players improve their game

Today, I’m going to highlight two of the studies published so far that have explored the positive impact of Tapping on athletic performance.

Study #1: Basketball players improve on free throws

Dr. Dawson Church conducted one of the first experiments on this subject in 2009, on a group of PAC-10 college basketball players. In total, the study involved 26 men and women. Half the group received a 15-minute Tapping session, and the other half received a placebo intervention for that same amount of time. The researchers did their best to simulate the timing of the intervention so it was as if it was occurring during a real game.[1]

After the treatment session, each player was asked to attempt free throws, and the researchers kept track of how many each player successfully scored.[1]

The results showed that there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups, with the EFT group completing more free throws than the control group. Players who received the EFT treatment improved their performance by about 20%, whereas the control group players actually got worse (by about 16%).[1]

This study was the first of its kind to suggest that brief Tapping sessions during the course of a game could actually improve athletic performance.

Study #2: Soccer players make more goals 

Now, these results don’t just apply to basketball. A small 2012 study took a similar approach to Church’s 2009 study, but this time they looked to see how EFT Tapping would affect women soccer players’ ability to score goals.[2]

Players from two women’s soccer teams were enrolled in the study. After a warmup and a series of initial penalty goal attempts, half the group received a brief 10-minute EFT Tapping session while the other half received routine soccer coaching as a control.[2]

Then, the players tried to score goals from 50 feet away. The group who had done Tapping had more success, and the results showed a significant improvement in goal scoring ability after the short EFT session. The authors hypothesize that the improvement may be due to a decrease in anxiety levels after the Tapping treatment.[2]

Both of these studies provided exciting results, helping us to better understand the benefits of Tapping in the field of sports and athletics. 

Why does Tapping help?

There are many possible reasons why Tapping can play a role in supporting athletes of all kinds, either pro or amateur.

It’s no secret that alongside the physical abilities that are required of athletes, there’s a big mental component, too. 

If you’ve ever played a sport competitively, or even if you’ve just played around with friends and family, then you know that it’s easy to get anxious and feel the pressure before a game, or at critical moments during the event.

Now, we don’t usually perform all that well when we are full of jitters, nervous, and feeling the pressure. It is vitally important for athletes to learn to stay calm, relaxed, centered, and confident before and during big events – even when the stakes are high!

That’s where Tapping comes in. Tapping is an evidence-based method known to calm down the brain and body, helping us to release strong emotions like anxiety and stress.

It is extremely effective at reducing stress and anxiety quickly, so that we can relax, let go, and move forward as our best, most confident selves.

One study on Tapping for athletic performance confirmed that Tapping can help athletes release distress and boost their confidence. 

Conducted by researchers Church and Downs, this 2012 study involved ten female college athletes, all with traumatic memories related to sports performance. They each received a single 20-minute EFT Tapping session and were measured for sports-related confidence and distress levels before Tapping, after Tapping, and at a 60-day follow up as well.[3]

The results showed that even a brief, 20-minute Tapping intervention led to a significant increase in sports-related confidence. The Tapping intervention also led to significant reductions in emotional and physical distress levels. What’s more is that these improvements were even maintained at the follow up two months later.[3]

This study is a great demonstration of the power of Tapping to influence an athlete in a positive way. Can you imagine how much more likely you’d be to perform well while on the field or on the court if you were more confident, less stressed, and less impacted by negative memories of past sports-related incidents?  

Tapping in action: high-performing pro athletes use Tapping to up their game

These research studies are exciting to hear about, but they aren’t the only evidence of Tapping working wonders when it comes to sports. Many professional athletes actually use Tapping  regularly in order to support their own peak performance. And the results are amazing!

For example, former Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia used to use Tapping as a way to help him clear out negative emotions and stay on top of his game. He was even featured in news stories by the likes of ESPN when he reported that he used Tapping to resolve a case of the ‘yips.’ He was having trouble with his mental game and wasn’t able to throw the ball back to the pitcher consistently, but Tapping served as the transformative tool he needed to get back on his game and resolve the issue. 

And professional tennis player Steph Kent credits her own Tapping practice to be behind the transformative mindset change that improved her performance on the court. Check out this short video story where she speaks to us about her experience with Tapping and the incredible benefits it had for her tennis career.

How to try Tapping for athletic performance yourself

The research is quite compelling in this area, and I’m sure there will be even more studies conducted in the future to help us learn more about the benefits of Tapping for athletes.

If you are inspired by this research, or the many anecdotal reports of the power of Tapping in supporting peak performance, then I encourage you to try out Tapping for yourself!

It is an easy tool you can add to your toolkit that is super simple and doesn’t require any special equipment. Even better, Tapping can work in just minutes. That can be particularly helpful in the fast-paced nature of athletics.

Tapping is a tool you can turn to during a pre-game warmup, while you wait on the bench for your turn to play, during practice, or even after a game to let go of any negative emotions that might have come up so that you are refreshed and ready to go the next time you are up to perform. 

We’ve got a whole “Sports Performance” category in The Tapping Solution App to support you, with guided meditation topics like Flow Creator and Injury Recovery Boost. 

Other meditations you can find in the app that might be helpful include:

  • Pre-Athletic Event Prep
  • Pre-Game Prep
  • Pre-Workout Prep
  • Releasing Anxiety
  • Settle Your Stomach
  • Micro Boost of Focus
  • Instant Boost of Energy
  • Releasing Disappointment
  • Releasing the Fear of Criticism

Good luck, you’ve got this! 

Until next time, keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

References

  1. Church, D. The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial. Open Sports Sciences. 2009;2:94-99. doi: 10.2174/1875399X00902010094.
  2. Llewellyn-Edwards, T & & Llewellyn-Edwards, M. The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on soccer performance. Fidelity: Journal for the National Council of Psychotherapy. 2012;47:14-21.
  3. Church D & Downs D. Sports confidence and critical incident intensity after a brief application of Emotional Freedom Techniques: A pilot study. Sport Journal. 2012;15(1).


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