How music can aid athletic performance

Massive headphones at the ready! From pre-match pick-me-ups to getting over a defeat, DJ and Arsenal fan Judge Jules names the ‘choons’ for every occasion

To wake you up on the morning of a big match
You want something uplifting, so I’d put on Martin Solveig’s Ready 2 Go. It’s really rowdy house music and has been huge in Ibiza this summer. It’s upbeat and positive, so it’d put me in a good mood before going out to play.

Last thing at night to relax yourself
You want to unwind and take it easy the night before a game, so I’d play Porcelain by Moby. It’s a relaxing track and if any song can take your mind off something stressful, it’s this. It’s archetypal Cafe Del Mar chill-out stuff – very soothing to listen to.

More after the break

A song to console yourself after a heavy defeat
How about Lou Reed’s Perfect Day? You obviously haven’t had a perfect day, but this is a song to help you forget about things. It’s got a “you and me together” sentiment, and you’d soon remember that it’s only a game. As an Arsenal fan I’ve needed that at times this season!

To calm you down after a niggly match
Massive Attack’s Safe From Harm. Partly because of the name of the track, but it’s also really relaxing if you’re feeling a bit wound up. It’s dance music, but it is pretty warm, too. I’d call it fireside dance music!
 
To energise you when you can’t be bothered to train...
There’s a song called Time To Burn by Storm which is jam-packed with huge trance riffs. It’s one of those tracks you have to turn up extremely loud and blast out. The message is also uplifting, so it will definitely get you going.

An epic track to get you going before the big cup final
It may be a bit cheesy, but how about Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves? It’s a feelgood ‘let’s all get together’ song that gets people smiling – which is just what you want before you go out and play as a team.

A classic party track to celebrate a major victory for the team
Satisfaction by Benny Benassi. A big slice of electro-house, it’s a great track for silly dancing and puts all your inhibitions out of the front door. I can see the team getting together and enjoying this one with a few beers.
 
How music can help your game
Dr Costas Karageorghis, an expert on the effects of music in sport, explains the science



“Music has an enormous range of effects on the brain. Uplifting house songs like Ready 2 Go or Time To Burn stimulate the brain’s ascending reticular activating system.

 It increases mental arousal and increases breathing rate, heart rate and muscular tension.

It can also induce a fight-or-flight response and stimulate adrenaline, which can elevate mood.

 A major key musical harmony can also increase feelings of happiness, which gets you going and feeling positive.

Relaxing songs like Porcelain can work on the brain in a number of ways.

A tempo around your resting heartbeat is best for a chill-out song, and having strings induces a relaxation response.

 A sunny pop song like Walking On Sunshine also has high tempo, major harmonies, and – like Safe From Harm – a positive lyrical affirmation.

If you associate a song with a particular state of mind, just hearing the first few bars can elevate your mood.

 Perfect Day works in a similar way. It can put you in a reflective mood that can remove negative thoughts and put you back into a state of hope and acceptance.”



Dr Costas Karageorgis’s book Inside Sport Psychology, published by Human Kinetics, explains how music can assist a workout



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