Restful brains are better
In January 2010, Claudio Del Percio of Sapienza University in Rome reported the results of a study in which he measured the brain waves of karate champions and ordinary people, while they were at rest with their eyes closed, and then he compared the results. He found that the karate champions emitted stronger alpha waves, which indicated they were in a more restful state. This finding suggests that an athlete's brain is similar to a powerful engine that is idling, ready to perform instantly.
Del Percio also measured brain waves of athletes and non-athletes while they were in action. In one experiment, he observed pistol shooters as they fired 120 times. In another experiment, he had fencers balance on one foot. Both cases resulted in similar results, the athletes' brains were quieter, which means they devoted less brain activity to these motor tasks than non-athletes did. Del Percio theorized that the brains of athletes are more efficient, so they produce the desired result with the help of fewer neurons. The research suggests that the more efficient a brain performs, the better job it performs in sports. The researchers also found that when pistol shooters hit their target, their brains tended to be quieter than when they missed.