Auditory-visual mental/ emotional conditioning method for youth boxing sport

Postgraduate student A.F. Khaervarina1
PhD, Professor L.M. Matveyeva1
PhD, Associate Professor R.M. Muftakhina1
Dr.Biol., Associate Professor E.Sh. Shayakhmetova1, 2
Associate Professor D.G. Ogurechnikov3
1M. Akmullah Bashkir State Pedagogical University, Ufa
2South Ural State University, Chelyabinsk
3Bashkir State University, Ufa

Keywords: auditory-visual conditioning, state anxiety, wellbeing, activity, mood.

Introduction. Youth boxing sport systems are designed to develop a wide variety of neurodynamic, energy control, mental and physical qualities controlled by the relevant central nervous system mechanisms. Achievement of high sports results is associated with significant psychoemotional stresses [6], for which reason it is necessary to apply various stimulation and rehabilitation methods, including auditory-visual conditioning [1, 2]. However, the mechanisms of influence and effects of audiovisual stimulation on the psychoemotional state of adolescent athletes are still poorly studied.
Objective of the study was to provide a psychophysical basis and test benefits of a new auditory-visual mental/ emotional conditioning method in application to junior boxers.
Methods and structure of the study. The study was run at the Bashkir State University sport center in the special precompetitive training period. At the beginning and at the end of the study, the athletes were subject to a thorough medical examination in the Republican Medical Exercises Dispensary and were considered healthy.
The auditory-visual conditioning sessions were held every day prior to trainings. Three "PhotoSonix" devices were used, each requiring the participation of two subjects only. A total of 10 auditory-visual conditioning sessions were conducted with the athletes of the Experimental Group under Program No. 13 "Alpha/ Theta Relaxation", which helped them learn how to switch from one condition to another. The Alpha/ Theta Relaxation Program lasted 24 minutes at the frequency of 8-28 Hz.
In the training process we examined the 13-14 year-old athletes (n=72) split into two groups: Control (CG) and Experimental (EG) ones. The groups were homogeneous in terms of age, boxing experience, and fitness level. The young athletes were required to provide a written consent of one of the parents and the sports school administration as an obligatory condition for participation in the psychological examination.
Wellbeing, activity, mood (WAM) were determined using a generally accepted method developed by the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy staff. The athletes’ psychodynamic characteristics were diagnosed using the C.D. Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety inventory, which helps determine the state and trait anxiety levels. The tests were carried out every two days using the psychophysiological testing device "Psychophysiologist".
Results and discussion. Most of the CG subjects were found to have an optimal level of state anxiety in the special precompetitive training period. Thus, the state anxiety level contributing to the achievement of high sports results was detected in 72.2% of boxers before the experiment and in 69.6% - after the experiment.
It should be noted that before and after the experiment, the percentage of the CG boxers with the low level of state anxiety remained rather high (22.2 and 27.6%, respectively). In this test, the very low anxiety level is known to be due to the active conscious suppression of high anxiety by subjects trying to show themselves during testing in the "best light" [5, 7].
The high level of anxiety in the CG athletes was registered in 5.6% of cases before the experiment and in 2.8% - after the experiment. A.Z. Minullin showed in his dissertation that athletes with the high level of state anxiety are conscientious and diligent during the training sessions, constantly improve and hone their skills, plan behavior, strive to anticipate and provide for all contingencies. In low-ranking competitions, which are subjectively deemed by athletes as less responsible, they are able to demonstrate high sports results, but in major and intense sport competitions they perform below the capabilities demonstrated during the training sessions [4].
Before the experiment, the following state anxiety rates were recorded: 45.2±1.02 points in the EG subjects and 42.5±0.98 points in the CG ones; the differences were insignificant (p>0.05).
These indicators, on C.D. Spielberger’s interpretation, correspond to the moderate level of state anxiety; a tendency towards an increase in the anxiety level is observed (the upper limit of normal). This can be adequately explained by the fact that the study was conducted in the special precompetitive training period characterized by diverse physical activities that lead to significant functional changes in the body of athletes.
After the auditory-visual conditioning sessions, the EG boxers were found to have statistically significant improvements in their state anxiety rates (p<0.01). Thus, the anxiety level in this group decreased by 29.3%. In our opinion, this is due to the fact that AVC helps increase psychophysiological resistance to competitive stresses, optimize the training and competitive process and positively affect young boxers’ mental state.
There were no statistically significant differences in the CG boxers (p>0.05). Their state anxiety remained at the same (moderate) level, which may indicate that the training-competitive process was designed correctly, and the coaches actively motivated the athletes.
To identify the typological features of formation of adaptive responses to the auditory-visual conditioning sessions, we tried to divide the boxers into the subgroups depending on the types of the nervous system. We identified three of five possible types: strong type – 24 athletes, average type - 9 athletes, and average weak type - 3 athletes. Due to the fact that the group of boxers with the average weak type of the nervous system was statistically unreliable, we considered only the data obtained in the first two subgroups. Their state anxiety was rated every two days.
Thus, we found that the level of state anxiety in the athletes with the strong nervous system decreased after the auditory-visual conditioning sessions. The decrease in the mean group values was gradual and by the 10th day of the auditory-visual conditioning course reached the lowest limit. In the boxers with the weak nervous system the level of anxiety decreased on the 6th day of the experiment; further on, this indicator slightly increased. Which imples that for the athletes with the weak nervous system, the optimal number of auditory-visual conditioning sessions is 6-8. This conclusion is consistent with the findings of B.M. Teplov, V.D. Nebylitsyn and E.P. Ilyin [3], who identified various forms of body balancing with the environment. Based on their findings, it can be assumed that the effects of the auditory-visual conditioning are more evident in the group of boxers with the weak nervous system. Since the weak type is characterized by the high level of activation at rest, as opposed to the strong one, it appears to be closer to the response threshold level, so it will take less time to develop a response.
The study of specific changes in the boxers’ self-rating of wellbeing, activity, mood in the special precompetitive training period seems relevant to us, since timely correction of athletes mental states, which influence their self-assessment rates, can be used as an effective way to improve athletic performance and sport mastery excellence process. The study showed that prior to the implementation of corrective measures the differences in the wellbeing rates in both of the groups were statistically insignificant (EG - 4.4±0.14 points, CG - 4.6±0.11 points, p>0.05). It should be noted that the wellbeing level in both of the groups was average. We believe that the young boxers’ wellbeing was influenced by intense physical loads in the special precompetitive training period and the athletes' stress over their competitive activity.
After the auditory-visual conditioning sessions, we observed changes in the EG wellbeing rates (p<0.01). The audiovisual stimulation helped the EG athletes to relieve excess stress related with the precompetitive period and increase their working capacity. In the CG athletes, such effects were not detected, their indices remained unchanged (p>0.05).
The comparative analysis of the activity self-assessment rates did not reveal any statistically significant differences in the mean values of both groups at the beginning of the experiment (EG - 4.7±0.12 points, CG - 4.9±0.16 points, p>0.05). These values correspond to the mean values. It is noteworthy that after the implementation of corrective measures, the data on the "activity" scale in the EG and CG changed significantly (p<0.01). We assume that this is due to the athletes’ mood in terms of qualification for competitions: the boxers accentuated own individuality, performance technique, and thereby were active during the experiment. In particular, the auditory-visual conditioning sessions affected the activity rates in the EG.
According to the results obtained on the "mood" scale, no statistically significant differences were observed between the CG and EG rates prior to the implementation of corrective measures (EG - 5.7±0.12 points, CG - 5.8±0.10 points, p>0.05). The mood of the boxers of both groups was characterized as high. This may indicate that the training process was of interest to the athletes, they liked it and wanted to attend the classes daily. The study revealed changes in the mood rates after the implementation of corrective measures (p<0.01), which can be indicative of the effective use of auditory-visual conditioning in application to boxers.
Having analyzed the dynamics of mean values of wellbeing, activity, mood, we observed changes in the level of these indicators in the EG - by 29, 34 and 7%, respectively. There were statistically significant differences in wellbeing, activity, mood of the young boxers of both groups at the end of the experiment as well, i.e. upon completion of the auditory-visual conditioning course. Consequently, auditory-visual conditioning helped improve wellbeing of the young boxers of the EG, which, in turn, contributed to the enhancement of their mood, rehabilitation and working capacity maintenance, normalization of sleep, reduction of over-fatigue and number of psychosomatic disorders.
In our opinion, it is of practical interest to evaluate adaptive responses to the auditory-visual conditioning sessions in boxers with various types of the nervous system. Thus, every two days, the athletes with the strong and weak nervous system were tested on the WAM scales. In the group of athletes with the weak nervous system, the WAM test rates were found to be the highest after the 6th and 7th auditory-visual conditioning sessions. It should also be emphasized that in terms of all indicators, the values were decreasing from the 8th day to the end of the experiment. In the boxers with the strong nervous system, the indicators obtained by the WAM method reflected the gradual increase by the 10th day of the study. Therefore, athletes with the strong nervous system are to complete the auditory-visual conditioning course – a total of 10 training sessions.
Conclusion. The auditory-visual mental/emotional conditioning method was found to significantly improve the mental and physical tolerance to stressors, mitigate excessive tensions, increase tolerance to mental fatigue, and improve working capacity and mood. The auditory-visual mental/ emotional conditioning method was tested on the central nervous system-type-specific basis to find that the individuals with the weak and strong central nervous system need 6-8 and 10 mental/ emotional conditioning sessions for progress, respectively.

References

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Corresponding author: fanilevnaalbina@mail.ru

Abstract
Youth boxing sport systems are designed to develop a wide variety of neurodynamic, energy control, mental and physical qualities controlled by the relevant central nervous system mechanisms. Objective of the study was to provide a psychophysical basis and test benefits of a new auditory-visual mental/ emotional conditioning method in application to junior boxers. The study was run at the Bashkir State University sport center in the special precompetitive training period, with the 13-14 boxers (n=72) sampled for the study. The boxers’ mental control progress was tested every two days by Psycho-physiologist Test System on the C. Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety inventory and V.A. Doskin Well-being, Activity, Mood (WAM) scale. The method was tested beneficial as verified by the EG versus RG significant progress in the state anxiety, wellbeing, activity and mood test rates. The auditory-visual mental/emotional conditioning method was found to significantly improve the mental and physical tolerance to stressors, mitigate excessive tensions, increase tolerance to mental fatigue, and improve the working capacity and mood. The auditory-visual mental/ emotional conditioning method was tested on the central nervous system-type-specific basis to find that the individuals with the weak and strong central nervous system types need 6-8 and 10 mental/ emotional conditioning sessions for progress, respectively.