British researchers found that the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl, or of any other professional sports event, may be settled by the biological rhythms of the players. The new findings reveal that the performance of an athlete may vary by up to 26 percent, depending on their biological clock’s ticking.
Scientists explained that professional athletes, as well as any human being, fall into one of the following three main categories: owls, larks, and people with “intermediate” biological clocks.
Owls are people that have a high performance over the evening and night hours; larks are people feeling highly energetic in the morning and afternoon, while the intermediate group is a mix between the previous two.
The new research provides undeniable proof that people’s performance can increase by as much as 26 percent over the course of a day, if they synchronize with their biological rhythms.
Roland Brandstaetter, a co-author of the study and Professor of Biology at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., underlined that even 1 percent may make the difference between winning and losing when it comes to sporting events.
The research may also shed light on the link between the poor outcomes of decisive sporting events and the time they were scheduled to take place. Also, the findings may reveal what are the best hours for each individual player to train.
Past studies have found that athletes reach their highest performance peak in the evening, but those studies might have taken into account only owl players because “nobody considered body-clock types properly,” U.K. scientists explained.
According to Prof. Brandstaetter, the type of biological clock of a person is settled by genetics, but it can be slightly adjusted to the environment. However, it is virtually impossible to turn an owl into a lark, or the other way around.
During their research, Mr. Brandstaetter and a fellow scientist developed a new method of finding the body-clock type of more than 100 field hockey players. The researchers chose twenty of them that would represent all three categories (owl, lark, or intermediate). The participants were then tested six times a day for psychical performance.
Researchers found that larks and the intermediate group were in their best shape around midday, while the owls outperformed the rest of the players in the evening hours.
Scientists now suggest that coaches and athletes should find their biological rhythm, and try to schedule important competitions accordingly.
Prof. Brandstaetter believes that biological clocks may be held responsible for exquisite performance of some soccer teams in the league games (which are usually planned in the afternoon) followed by underperformance in championship matchups, which usually happen in the evening.
Image Source: Bleacher Report