Puzzles and the Athlete: How Solving Them Can Boost Your Performance


Athletes are known to do some strange things to enhance their performance. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, GyroStim, cupping, cryotherapy, and many other unusual treatments are popular among elite athletes to give them the edge they need over their opponents. But, did you know that there’s a simple way to boost your sporting performance without the need for specialized therapies? The experts at Solve It! show how solving puzzles may be a key to your athletic success.

Positive Thinking

Research has shown that completing puzzles releases endorphins, which are the chemicals our body releases when it is participating in a pleasurable activity. You get these endorphins all the time when you’re participating in your sport and doing puzzles can have the same effect on you, especially when you successfully complete one. You feel a sense of accomplishment every time you fit a piece of the puzzle together and your body rewards you with a hit of endorphins, just as if you’d scored a goal or made a great play.

Endorphins lead to positive thinking because you know your body is going to reward you with these feel-good chemicals if you continue doing the activity. And knowing you have the skills and perseverance to complete a puzzle gives you the confidence that you can perform in other areas of your life as well, including in the sport you love.

Relieve Nerves

It’s completely natural for an athlete to feel nervous before a big game or match, even athletes who participate at the highest level. Successful athletes are those who know how to control their nerves and channel their energy into staying present instead of worrying about how their game will turn out. Puzzles help athletes stay mindful by allowing them to focus on finding the solution to the puzzle. Their brain is entirely engaged in holding what the solution looks like in one part of their brain and figuring out how to achieve that solution in another part of their brain.

Your brain simply can’t focus on the upcoming game if it’s engaged in solving a puzzle. And that’s okay. You don’t have to be thinking about the game all the time because if you do, your nerves will get the best of you. Instead, use puzzles to focus on what you’re doing at that very moment and allow your mind to meditate on solving them. You’ll have plenty of time to refocus yourself on the game when the time comes.

Avoid Outside Influences

One major issue that athletes have to deal with in modern times is all the outside influences like social media, news reports, and gossip. All of these can negatively impact an athlete’s confidence and focus. Completing physical puzzles keeps you away from these distractions and allows you to pass the time until the next game quickly without anything undermining your efforts to perform at your peak.


Working on puzzles is a simple way to get your mind in the right space before a match or game. It’s not an expensive therapy, but when combined with a trainer’s regimen, solving puzzles can be a positive addition to your sports preparation.




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