One of the essential components all athletes develop through the Sedona Sports Performance Program is brain entrainment. The following is a brief explanation of part 1 of training.

Peak performance is another activity for which Alpha is crucial. Recently sports scientists have shown that increases of Alpha brain waves precede peak performance.

Alpha Brain Waves and Biofeedback Science in Sports

Often when athletes ask, “What is Alpha?”, they are asking, “What is Alpha good for?” and “What does Alpha mean to me?” Answering the first question leads to the other two.
What is Alpha? It is one of four primary brain waves [Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta], which make up the EEG, which is short for electroencephalogram. These are all oscillating electrical voltages in the brain, but they are very tiny voltages, just a few millionths of a volt. The Alpha waves oscillate about ten times per second, and the range is 8-13 cycles per second. The brain waves called “Alpha” were the first to be discovered (around 1908, by an Austrian Psychiatrist named Hans Berger). That is why they name it “Alpha”; he was first; and Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, like our “a.”
Many hundreds of scientists have spent a lot of time studying these fundamental brain waves of the EEG, so there is a lot of basic knowledge about what Alpha is and what makes it appear and disappear in athlete’s brains. 
Scientists took hundreds of top athletes in several sports and connected sensors all over their bodies from feet to ankles. The goal was to analyze
the athlete’s brain activity while performing the biomechanical movements of the sport. What they discovered was that while the athlete struck, shot, threw, passed, kicked a ball, the brain explodes at Alpha. And the more they did it. The more it occurred. 
Did you know that Alpha appears and disappears? It is not always present. For example, in a deep sleep, there is no Alpha, and when someone is in a highly aroused state, as in fear or anger, again, there is virtually no Alpha. Alpha occurs during wakefulness, where there is relaxed and effortless alertness. That means when you first awaken and before you fall asleep, you are at the same Alpha as the best athletes. Take the Sedona Sports Performance Program and learn how you use it. 
  • Delta is seen only in the deepest stages of sleep (Stages 3 and 4). Delta waves are the slowest oscillating waves (0-4 cycles per second).

  • Theta during light sleep and drowsiness (sleep stages 1 and 2). Theta waves oscillate somewhat faster (4-7 cycles per second).  

  • Alpha occurs during wakefulness, where there is relaxed and effortless alertness. Alpha waves oscillate 8-13 times per second. 

  • Beta occurs during highly stressful situations, and where there is heavy mental concentration and focus. Beta waves oscillate still faster (13-40 cycles per second). Beta is the frequency vast majority of wakened life occurs.

Why is Alpha important to Athletes?

 Athletes can get into trouble if they can not turn on the kind of brain wave needed for the task at hand. For example, if we can not turn on Theta and Delta waves, we will suffer from insomnia, among other things, which means fatigue, lack of recovery, decreased performance and increased injury risk. On the other hand, athletes who can turn on the ideal brain waves to deal with every situation are the SWAG athletes. 
They have a fast recovery, fewer injuries, and consistent performance.
One useful metaphor compares the four basic brain waves (Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta) with the four gears in a car. Delta (the slowest wave) is the first gear. Theta is second, Alpha is the third, and Beta is the fourth gear. No one gear is best for every driving situation, and no one brain wave is best for all of the challenges of life. 
Athletes get into trouble if one of the gears on the car goes out, or if we forget to use some of them. For example, if we drive our vehicle starting in first gear, and then shifting directly into fourth gear (skipping second and third), we will have low gas mileage and high repair bills. The same is true of our brains. Sadly, many athletes unknowingly skip their second and third brain gears (Theta and Alpha). The consequences of driving our brains are losing creativity, focus, low productivity, inconsistent performance, injuries, and the inability to process stress.  

 How does this happen?

Athletes often wake up suddenly out of deep sleep (Delta) with an alarm. Then many immediately feel stress and anxiety (Beta) about being late or being under game or match pressure. After insufficient sleep, they pour caffeine drinks, or sugar down their throats to force themselves into (Beta) wakefulness, and the caffeine suppresses Theta and Alpha while promoting Beta
 Many athletes train, practice, compete, attend classes, date, under the stress, pressure, and time urgency (Beta, Beta, and more Beta). Finally, night arrives, they fall exhausted into a deep sleep (Delta), having spent too little time unwinding, relaxing, and drowsing. In Sedona Sports Performance language ( Merge, step-in-step out, 3-2-1, Sport-specific meditation), which would have given them more Alpha and Theta. Thus many athletes shift their brains suddenly and forcefully from Delta to Beta and then back to Delta.
Alpha production is an innate skill of our brains, but one consequence of an athlete’s stressful lifestyle is that we forget how to produce Theta and Alpha brain waves. Then we easily fall victim to anxiety and stress-related performance diseases. Anxiety and stress measurably reduce the strength of our immune systems, deplete power, reduce focus, slow speed, and negate quickness. Okay, I will stop there. Athletes who have more Alpha brain waves have less anxiety. Thus having more Alpha waves could mean less stress and, correspondingly, stronger immune systems, and consistent performance.
Creativity is another activity for which Alpha is helpful. Scientists have shown that highly creative people have different brain waves from creative and non-creative people. The creative brain needs to be able to generate a big burst of Alpha. The brains of creative people can make these big Alpha bursts, and do so when facing problems to solve. Ordinary and non-creative people do not produce Alpha increases when facing challenges, and so they can not come up with creative ideas and solutions. 

Any time you have an insight or an inspiration, you know your brain just produced more Alpha waves than usual. Increased creativity is helpful for everyone.  

Peak performance is another activity for which Alpha is crucial. Recently sports scientists have shown that increases of Alpha brain waves precede peak performance. One key difference between novice and elite athletes is in their brain waves. Just before free throws, an elite basketball player will produce a burst of Alpha on the left side of their brain. The same holds for elite golfers. They will create an explosion of Alpha in their left brain. Just before their best shots, And elite marksmen and archers will produce a burst of Alpha in their left brains. 
Novice and intermediate athletes do not show this Alpha pattern. However, one study of pitchers training over many weeks showed that as they improved their performance, they gradually increased the amount of left-brain Alpha, which occurred just before their best pitches. The Alpha brain waves seemed to be essential for peak performance and increase through proper training.
What does Alpha mean to me? If you want to feel less stress and anxiety, you should increase the number of your Alpha waves. You may also improve the strength of your immune systems. If you want to be more creative, you should learn how to increase the number of your Alpha waves. If you’re going to have more peak performance in athletic activity, and in other areas of your life, you should master how to increase the number of your Alpha waves. 
Some athletes are born healthy and mellow and gifted with creativity and athletic prowess. But what if you are not so lucky?