Tag Archives: Athletic Brain

Seeing The World Through Tony Parker’s Eyes

via Dan Peterson

After the San Antonio Spurs clinched their trip to the NBA Finals on Monday night, Tim Duncan was asked to describe the contributions of his point guard, Tony Parker.  “Every year he just gets better and better and better,” he commented to the press. “I told him I’m just riding his coattails.”  High praise indeed from a four-time NBA champion and 14-time All-Star. Duncan’s remarks add to the growing opinion that Parker is the best postseason point guard in NBA history.  Whether its his scoring touch, 37 points in Game 4 against Memphis, or his vision on the court, a career best 18 assists in Game 2, Parker has the ability …

read more

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10,000 Hours Of Practice May Not Be Enough

via Dan Peterson

The 10,000 hour theory has become the American dream for developing athletes. Just work hard enough and your gold medal, Hall of Fame, championship ambitions can come true. It is achievable, measurable and finite.  Many athletes never quite cross the 10,000 hour finish line, and have used the scapegoat reason, “I just didn’t have enough time to commit to the sport.” However, recent research suggests that while 10,000 hours of deliberate practice may be necessary to achieve world-class status, it may not be the only ingredient to success. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, a research paper by Florida State professor K. Anders Ericsson, The Role of Deliberate Practice in the …

read more

Tags: , , , , , ,

Why A Football Helmet Has Ear Holes

via Dan Peterson

For as much as we hear about the importance of vision on the football field, there are quite a few phrases emphasizing the sounds of the game.  Examples include “he heard footsteps coming”, “listen for the audible at the line”, “East Right Flop, Y Left, Fake 396 Bag, V Hinge, on 2.”, “play until you hear the whistle” and even the backhanded compliment to the ears, “he has eyes in the back of his head.”  Listening is a skill to be exploited for better anticipation, reactions and decision-making.  Now, neuroscience researchers have filled in some missing details of how we actually use the sounds around us to instantly direct our muscles to take action. …

read more

Tags: , , , , ,

Rubber-Necked Soccer Players Have The Best Field Vision

via Dan Peterson

Last weekend, there was no better place for a few hundred high school soccer players to learn the concept of field vision than to take them to a college match between two top Division 1 teams.  Having just finished playing the second day of the Blue Chip Showcase tournament in Ohio, their assignment (and chance to unwind) was to observe first-hand the skill level that they would need to reach the next level.  If they thought their games against fellow 16 and 17 year old players were fast-paced, then they were in for a surprise when they watched the split second decision making of college players during a spring game between …

read more

Tags: , , , , , ,

Multitasking Brains Are Clutch Under Pressure

via Dan Peterson

Just ask the primary decision makers across different sports.  Quarterbacks, point guards, midfielders and catchers would agree that making the right choices during a game would be a whole lot easier if it weren’t for the constant distractions.  Whether it be a blitzing linebacker, a 1v1 defender or runners on base, staying focused on the next decision seems like an on or off process; something that can’t be dealt with until the current distraction is neutralized.  However, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have learned that our multitasking brains continue to mull impending decisions in the background while our conscious brain handles the noise in front of us. Picture a quarterback walking …

read more

Tags: , , , , , ,

How Your Brain Maps Sports

via Axon Sports

Playing different sports is rather redundant.  Think about the motor skills and objects of, say, hockey versus soccer.  Players on two teams try to keep control of the puck/ball and put it past the opposing keeper into the goal.  Tennis, badminton and volleyball share the concept of hitting an object over a net at an opponent.  Football and rugby both need to advance a ball across a goal line.  There are similar objects such as a ball, a goal and the field of play and movements like jumping and running.  An athlete’s brain needs to learn these shared concepts early on to be able to navigate the tactics and motor skills …

read more

Tags: , , , , ,

Athletes and Age of Peak Performance Pt. 2

via Axon Sports

In our last post we looked at when athletes in different sports reach their age of peak performance, and at a potential neural basis for athletic decline. The argument for a breakdown in myelin integrity turned out to not ring true, as it doesn’t peak until the late thirties, long after most elite athletes have slipped into irrelevance. Those ages of peak performance, again, are below: * For baseball, a number of studies, using different methods, have pegged peak age between 27-29. (Link) * For Tennis, peak age has been pegged between the early 20′s and 25. (Link) * For basketball, peak age has been found to be at 27 for …

read more

Tags: , ,