Exhibition Program

Science of Human


How do winners control their mental states?

- Physiological states and sports performance in real games -


It is said that mental state is an important factor if one is to be a winner in sports. Although mental and physiological states are related, the relationship between physiological state and sporting performance, especially in real games, remains unclear. Here, we investigate this relationship for real competition in esports, baseball, and snowboarding by focusing on the heart rate (HR) as an indicator of mental state. The results show a strong relationship between sporting performance and HR, such as the huge variation in HR that occurs when the opponent is a higher-level player, the stable performance that accompanies a stable heart rate regardless of the situation, and a top player delivering a good performance with a high HR. Further investigation will reveal the component of the mental state related to performance and will enable us to develop ways of improving athletes’ performance by adjusting their physiological state.


  • [1] K. Watanabe, N. Saijo, M. Kashino, “The physiological change reflecting the fight-or-flight response of an esports player correlates strongly with that of the opponent,” in Proc. NEURO2019, 2019.
  • [2] T. Fukuda, T. Mochida, N. Saijo, M. Kashino, “Game situation affects pitching control - variation of pitching error distribution in real games,” Japan Society of Baseball Science, the 5th Annual Meeting, 2017.
  • [3] S. Matsumura, K. Watanabe, T. Kimura, M. Kashino, “Relationship between pre-competitive physiological states and performance in snowboard jumping competitions,” Japan Society of Ski Science, the 29th Annual Meeting, 2019.




Ken Watanabe, Sports Brain Science Project