It’s safe to say that most of us have experienced the power of music. I’m sure that everyone who listens to music can think of at least one song that has shaped them into the person they are today. This is because music can make you feel a vast array of emotions. It can inspire you. It can make you smile, cry, love, hate, relax, or dance!
Music can therefore be a powerful tool that can help you “master your craft”. When used thoughtfully, it can have a tremendous positive impact on your mind and body! Music can optimise arousal, reduce perceived exertion during submaximal exercise, increase positive emotions, and improve energy efficiency (Karageorghis & Priest, 2012).
More specifically, you can listen to music before a competition or during a training session to get yourself into “the zone” (i.e., increase or decrease your arousal). In addition, you can listen to it during a hard training session to dissociate yourself from the fatigue that you are experiencing (e.g., focus on the lyrics and/or beat rather than your “burning muscles”).
Below are the basic instructions on how to create your own personalized playlist:
- Give yourself 30 minutes to complete this exercise
- Determine exactly how you would like to feel before a competition or during a training session
- Do you want to increase or decrease your arousal?
- Select songs that will help you feel the way you want to feel
- Increase arousal (>120 bpm)
- Decrease arousal (<80 bpm)
- Consider the lyrical content
- To create a cohesive music mix, think about
- Beat matching
- Style matching
- Artist matching
- Era matching
Although music is associated with an increase in physical and mental performance, not everyone should listen to it before a competition or during a training session. You should avoid listening to music when learning a new motor task or during high-intensity exercises that require your full attention. Furthermore, some people are better able to get themselves into “the zone” by not listening to music. For instance, Matthias Steiner, gold medalist in weightlifting at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, stated in an interview: “A lot of other guys listen to music, but I intentionally don’t. I leave it all at home, because I want to feel the atmosphere, if I listen to music I’ll be distracted”.
The important point here is that you must figure out what works best for you! If music helps you feel the way you want to feel then create your own personalized playlist!
Set goals. Do just one thing at a time. Keep it simple and smart. Do it consistently. Reflect on the process.
Karageorghis, C. I., & Priest, D.-L. (2012). Music in the exercise domain: A review and synthesis (Part II). International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 5, 67-84.