It’s been discussed many times, and is a known fact, that there are many benefits that you can bring to your brain when you exercise regularly. In fact, a lot of things actually increase brain power. However, did you know that athletic performance also increases when brain power does? What if you knew that you could build your brain towards athletic performance?
In the past, when you needed yourself or your team to do exceptionally well, the techniques involved were visualization, self-talk, and motivational speeches. However, advances in neuroscience and technology show that these methods only scratch the surface of absolute mental capacity – it is literally possible to train athletes’ brains to “think fast.”
In sports, an executed move begins way before the action. It begins with the brain setting a goal. Various parts of the brain act as one, in a combined effort to allow the action. If there’s a hiccup along the way, the brain recalculates the move, and creates an alternate strategy – all in a matter of seconds. The difference between us athletes and us normal folk is the fact that their brain is more precise and quicker at initiating and correcting these actions.
It is brain efficiency that allows an athlete these amazing feats. Brain efficiency optimizes and prioritizes attention and energy away from basic movements, and more into the more complicated things happening. Like how a basketball player is never consciously dribbling the ball, but rather, has more of his focus on the players around him, and where he is in relation to the opponent’s hoop.
This incredible show of athleticism is more directly related to brain efficiency and practice to make this better does not involve the repetition of physical skills (e.g., free throws x number of times), but rather the optimization of their minds. This is what unlocks true potential.
A sports training company, Axon Sports, uses computer games that aim to improve soccer players’ cognitive skills, reaction times, and anticipation skills in the hopes of bettering their game on the field. Axon Sports claim that this provides more of a mental challenge than their practice sessions, and is actually more beneficial for in-game excellence. Their aim is to create, what they call an “athletic brain.”
In the past few years, there have been many upcoming companies with similar vision and ideologies. Further research must be conducted, but at the moment everything points positively.
A long time ago, it took a lot of sweat, dedication, and hours of practice to get an athlete at the top of his game. However, these findings might point that another solution, although not necessarily better, might be able to challenge the notions of the past. In the near future, sports might turn into a battle of wits.