Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Synapse – Better Decision Making In Sports

via Axon Sports

In this week’s Synapse, we made a game-time decision, (pun intended), to focus on the high-speed decision making skills of athletes that are critical in so many sports. There are several new research studies out that all take a different angle. However, it was an interesting post by Ross Tucker at the always excellent blog, The Science of Sport that sparked our curiosity.  As a consultant to the South African rugby team, he commented on the recent World Cup final that saw New Zealand triumph over France. However, it wasn’t the decision making of the players that Tucker wrote about, but rather of the referee. For those unfamiliar with rugby, like …

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Fooling Your Overprotective Brain

via Axon Sports

Of the roughly 45,000 brave souls who will line up for the start of the New York City Marathon in less than two weeks, there’s a good chance that at least a few will have doubts of crossing the finish line.  They have put in the training miles, eaten the right foods and picked out their playlist.  Yet, the biggest obstacle to a finisher’s medal is not their legs, but their brain.  Like an overprotective mother, the brain not only runs the show but also decides when enough is enough.  However, exercise science researchers now believe that it is possible to fool mother nature and tap into a reserve store of …

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The Synapse – Brainspotting, Exercise for Migraines, and Learning Motor Skills

via Axon Sports

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Axon Potential, The Synapse, which will be your  connection to the latest Athletic Brain news and research. Brainspotting – A Promising Treatment for Sports Trauma During a game with the Atlanta Braves in 1990, Mets catcther Mackey Sasser was on the receiving end of collision at home plate with a Braves base-runner. Shortly after, he began an peculiar habit of double-clutching on his throws back to the pitcher. He tried traditional physical therapy, psychological counseling and other methods to stop this subconscious habit. He turned to Dr. David Grand who had created a new neurobehavioral treatment he called brainspotting or BSP. As described …

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Artificial Intelligence Research Tackles Football Knowledge

via Axon Sports

As football fans, it’s easy to watch our favorite teams play and be couch coaches and recliner refs. We’re able to watch the action on the field and make sense of the chaotic movements of the players and figure out the design and intention of the plays. Even for the casual fan, their brain is able to make sense of the basic strategy and rules of the game. But, how did we get to this point? How did we initially learn what is actually a very complex sport? For those that actually play the game, that learning and reaction process is critical to on-field success.

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Neuroplasticity, Divers and the Athletic Brain

via Axon Sports

Our last post here centered on neuroplasticity and the way that training creates real, visible changes in the brains of athletes.  We referenced a study of Chinese professional divers, who showed enlargement in certain brain areas associated with learning and processing movement.  Back in March, Wired magazine did a nice story summarizing the research: In a new study published last month in PLoS ONE, a research team led by Jing Luo from the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences compared the brains of elite divers to those who were not involved in intense physical training or professional sport. To offset the chances that differences found deep within the …

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Neuroplasticity and how training changes the structure of the brain

via Axon Sports

The more we practice something, the better we get at it; this much is uncontroversial.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth examining. The connection between practicing a skill and then improving because of that practice is a concept that is so natural and intuitive, so well accepted as common knowledge, that we often fail to appreciate the fascinating mechanics behind the process of skill acquisition. On the most basic level, learning a new skill or improving a skill involves changes in the brain.  There are a few different ways that our brains adapt to picking up new skills and changing environmental conditions.  The first involves a rewiring of the networks …

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