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Enhancing Athletic Performance: The Impact of IM Training on Timing, Accuracy, and Neural Recruitment in Golfers and Soccer Players

Doctoral Thesis


Adult, Motor Skills, Sports Performance

This analytical paper consolidates findings from three studies conducted at Umeå University, Sweden, investigating the impact of Interactive Metronome (IM) training on peak athletic performance.

The studies targeted golf shot accuracy, kinematic properties of the golf swing, and cross-pass soccer kick accuracy, incorporating fMRI to observe underlying brain activity.

In summary, the randomized, controlled studies revealed that IM significantly enhanced athlete performance in several ways. Improvements included enhanced motor timing ability, increased golf shot and soccer kick accuracy, reduced variability in performance outcomes leading to greater consistency, and decreased activation within certain brain regions on fMRI.

The latter indicated a more efficient pattern of neural recruitment after IM training, which suggests the development of automaticity in executing these tasks.

Abridged Summary & Results of Study

Effect of timing training in golf and soccer players: skill, movement organisation, and brain activity

YEAR: 2014 DOCTORAL THESIS (4 papers were published from this body of work)

AUTHOR: Marius Sommer

Interactive Metronome (IM) training produced statistically significant improvements in athletic performance of golfers and elite soccer players as measured by timing skills, shot/kick accuracy, variability in execution during sport (automaticity), kinematic analysis & functional MRI.


  • Sommer, M. & Rönnqvist, L. (2009). Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 8, 648-656. This study investigated the impact of IM training on golf shot accuracy and variability.
  • Sommer, M., Häger, C. & Rönnqvist, L. (2014). Sports Biomechanics, 13, 1-16. This study further investigated the impact of sensorimotor synchronization training (via IM training) on the kinematic properties of the golf swing, specifically spatiotemporal movement organization and dynamics.
  • Sommer, M., Häger, C., Olsson, C. J., & Rönnqvist, L. (2018). This study investigated the effect of IM training on cross-pass soccer kick accuracy in elite and sub-elite female soccer players. Underlying brain activity was studied via fMRI.
  • Rönnqvist, L., McDonald, R., & Sommer, M. (2018). This study explored the impact of IM training on soccer players timing ability, performance accuracy & lower limb kinematics.

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