The “Athletic Brain” — What Is It and Can It Be Trained?

Great athletes have a special kind of intelligence; they see, react and understand the game in a way that sets them apart – call it “game sense,” or “having a high sports IQ”. Until recently, these key cognitive skills were not considered trainable, or even understandable. However, Neuroscience research has demonstrated that many of the key cognitive skills of the ‘athletic brain’ can be measured – and trained. At Axon, we are engaging top neuroscientists and applying the scientific principles behind skill acquisition and the development of expertise with new ways to build the cognitive skills critical for success in sports. Axon is developing products that assess and train what we consider to be the key aspects of the ‘athletic brain’: high speed decision-making, pattern recognition/spatial reasoning, reaction/anticipation, visualization/imagination, focus, and emotional regulation. By combining expert feedback with the ability to log high numbers of ‘mental reps’ in a short period of time, we help athletes build expertise in key cognitive areas without draining their bodies or exposing themselves to injury. This presentation will focus on what we’ve been working on with elite athletes in our lab at Athletes’ Performance, our Digital Sports Trainers (DSTs), and the future direction of Athletic Brain Training.

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