A recent meta-analysis has shown inconclusive results on the effectiveness of traditional electroencephalography (EEG) neurofeedback training (NFT) protocols in changing EEG activity and improving sports performance. To enhance the effectiveness of EEG NFT protocols, we explored a new approach to EEG NFT, namely the function-specific instruction (FSI) approach. The basic tenet underpinning effective verbal instruction is to induce mental states as the verbal instructions consider the meaning of the brainwave function in the target region and the EEG power magnitude. This study aimed to test whether a single session of FSI is efficacious in improving frontal midline theta (FMT) activity and putting performance. Method: Thirty-six skilled golfers with a handicap of 14.05 ± 9.43 were recruited. A consecutive sampling method was used to form three groups: an FSI group (n = 12), a traditional instruction (TI) group (n = 12), and a sham control (SC) group (n = 12). In the pre- and post-tests, each participant performed 40 putts from a distance of 3 m, and the number of holed putts was recorded. The participants were asked to perform 50 trials in a single session of NFT. Putting performance improved significantly from before to after NFT in the FSI group. Moreover, the FSI group demonstrated a significant decrease in FMT power, whereas the SC group demonstrated a significant increase in FMT power from before to after NFT. These findings suggest that the FSI approach is more effective in enhancing sustained attention and putting performance in skilled golfers than TI.
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