Cuba Launches Experimental Psychology Sports Lab

A sports lab to test athlete psychological and physical health was launched Wednesday in Havana, the first of its kind to treat patients from the outskirts of the city.

The tests employ 18 techniques to evaluate motivation, skill and concentration, among others. Their goal is to use metrics “to help develop the sport,” Marta Cañizares, a director in the experimental project, told CubaDebate.

One test called Sofron would help a nervous athlete relax using an automated sound. Another, fatigtest, measures tiredness to modulate the intensity of practices according to the physical health of the team. The lab is also equipped with a massage table, a small library and a relaxing soundtrack.

The mechanized tests allow doctors to obtain results immediately, a significant improvement from previous methods. The Center of Sports Medicine and the Institute of Transportation Research collaborated to conduct the research and obtain the equipment for the lab. Graduate and postgraduate students from the psychology department of the Higher Institute of Physical Culture Manuel Fajardo will receive training in the lab, which will also serve young and lower-level athletes.

The institute stands out for its mix of professors that specialize in not only medicine, but also psychology, pedagogy and sociology for a more comprehensive study of “physical culture.” It mostly focuses on sports with balls, including handball, basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer.

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