What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “performance enhancement?” I would venture to guess that your initial thoughts center on steroids, HGH, Blood Doping, etc. You might even visualize individuals like Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Floyd Landis, or Brian Cushing, all of whom have been identified as past practitioners of illegal performance enhancement.
If that was your thought process, you certainly would not be alone as the media addresses this issue on a pretty regular basis. Rarely a week goes by where some professional and/or elite level athlete isn’t being accused of “using.”
However, performance enhancement does not need to take illegal forms. There are ways that athletes can improve their performance without the use of drugs and/or other illegal practices. One such method was highlighted in The Stanford Daily news, Study finds sleep increases athletic performance.
The Stanford piece discusses a medical study that was performed on 11 basketball players. The goal of the researchers running the study was to eliminate any accumulated sleep deprivation by having the athletes sleep 10 hours a day, 5 – 7 days, for one full week. Then, at the end of the week, the researchers would perform shooting accuracy tests and sprint tests on these athletes to see if there was any significant impact on their performance.
“…free-throw shooting accuracy increased by an average of nine percent, three-point field goal accuracy increased by an average of 9.5 percent and average sprint times decreased by about five percent.”
Wow, faster and better without the use of illegal drugs, who would have figured!!!