Two of the last three Super Bowls have been won by a team led by a quarterback who has made brain training a part of his daily regimen. That quarterback is, of course, Tom Brady, and the brain training he uses is a special version of BrainHQ developed for his training organization, TB12 Sports.
Anyone can check out a video of one of the visual exercises designed to help Tom Brady train for the big game at https://vimeo.com/253314639. That exercise focuses on visual speed and accuracy, as well as training visual search and the useful field of view. People who want to train like Tom can register for his brain training program at https://tb12.brainhq.com .
BrainHQ is unique in the world of brain training because of its bottom-up approach – focusing on improving perceptual speed and accuracy as the basic building blocks of higher cognitive function, such as memory and decision-making.
“Players and coaches are coming to appreciate that cognitive conditioning is as important as physical conditioning,” observed Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science, which makes BrainHQ. “After all, it’s the brain that controls the movement of the body and the split-second decisions made on the field.”
There’s a gap between when a player receives sensory information and acts on it. That reaction time has both a physical and a mental component. Most sports training focuses on improving physical movement, and fails to train the cognitive component. Players may be ranked as “faster” and “better” if they can out-run others by just a couple of tenths of a second, but up until recently little was done to measure or improve brain speed by similar amounts.
“Whether it’s finding an open receiver in football, a quick dart down the court in basketball, a slap shot in hockey, a lob in tennis, a pass in soccer, or hundreds of other moves in any sport, a split-second movement can change everything,” Dr. Mahncke added. “Even when seemingly instinctual, those movements are decision-based, and the right brain training can help with speed and accuracy.”
BrainHQ offers dozens of computerized exercises and regimens that target just about every major system of the brain. Training for sports starts with five core exercises that target the speed and accuracy of the visual processing system. Dozens of other exercises target other cognitive skills that can contribute to peak performance on and off the field by focusing, for example, on attention, speed, visual search, visual acuity, multiple object tracking, useful field of view, inhibitory control, memory, and decision-making.
BrainHQ exercises quickly and continuously personalize to each user (using smart algorithms to adjust stimuli based upon all your prior performance data). The exercises get harder when you are having a good day, and ease-off when you are having a bad day, to keep pushing you through your current threshold to new levels of your “personal best.”
BrainHQ also is unique in the world of brain training because of the science behind the product. More than 100 peer-reviewed studies across varied populations show the impact of BrainHQ exercises and assessments, including gains in standard measures of cognition (e.g., speed, attention, memory) and standard measures of quality of life (e.g., mood, confidence and control, health-related quality of life), as well as real world activities (e.g., balance, gait, driving).
“When it comes to applying brain training to sports,” said Dr. Mahncke, “I like to quote renowned sports training authority Dr. Peter Gorman – ‘when you think slow, you play slow.’”