Something a little different today. Over the past month we have discussed how players are poked and prodded, interviewed and tested to the maximum. Something that I have recently come across is the concept of brain training for professional athletes to maximise their onfield performance, at the forefront of this relatively new science is Neurotopia. A company who is now at the forefront of performance Brain training, who have unparralled experience and research in the professional sport market. This new movement has already partnered with the Arkansas Razorbacks Football program as well as the UCLA golf team. Originally a medical group founded in 2008, it's research and development has led to it being the official partner of Red Bulls High Performance Division.
So what exactly is neurofeedback and EEG (electroencephalography) brain mapping? and how can it help professional athletes and for the sake of this article, the New York Jets? As Neurotopia explains:
The brain is the command center that drives the body’s performance. How it functions affects an athlete’s control of focus, speed of reaction, quality of sleep, efficiency of motor movement, emotional reactivity, and ability to mentally recover after an error. When the brain is able to efficiently function, an athlete is better at performing under pressure, sustaining focus, as well as mentally resetting during competition.
Basically the whole process allows athletes to train their brain to recognise and for athletes to understand how to associate the feeling of what they are going correctly with their correct brainwave activity and how to surpress brainwaves that are associated with lack of performance, with concentration issues with reacting after an error or a mistake. It is basically training the brain to interact with the body on a more efficient basis to ensure maximum performance.
How many times have we heard that players are mentally weak or lack the focus to be an elite athlete? well now there is actually a quantitive way to measure such things, and not only just to measure it but to actually improve and in some cases completely negate that negative aspect to a players game. So after working with athletes from across the major sports in America, as well as with Olympians and even the Military. What benefits have been recorded?
- Sustaining Focus
- Increasing Reaction Time
- Managing High Pressure
- Screening out Distraction
- Mental Re-setting
At the moment how we judge a player is very much based on their physical attributes and so it should be. However improving a player physically and mentally is an innovative idea that is rapidly gaining recognition. Think of performance brain training as a bench press for the brain. It's just another area that I fully expect to gain more recognition at the pro level over the next 5-10 years, perhaps we can lead the pack here. None of the less, it's a facinating subject and we are always looking at ways to better optimize performance when it comes to our Jets.