Tag Archives: cognitive training

Learning To Be The Next Eric Clapton Or Tiger Woods

via Axon Sports

Despite being a well-respected cognitive psychology professor at New York University, Gary Marcus had a secret ambition; to shred amazing riffs that would make Eric Clapton envious. The fact that he had been gently told as a child he had no sense of rhythm or tone did not discourage his dream. With a one year sabbatical from NYU available, he turned himself into a lab experiment of how to teach a middle-aged dog new “licks”. At about the same time, Dan McLaughlin was growing restless with his career as a commercial photographer in Portland. To him, life as a professional golfer seemed to be the dream destination if only he could …

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For Youth Athletes, It’s All About The Struggle

via Axon Sports

As parents and coaches of youth athletes, we walk a fine line in our communications with our emerging superstars about their abilities.  What may sound like a great pat on the back, (“that was amazing how you just knew to make that pass – you’ve really got a knack for this sport”), may actually limit their future development and motivation, according to two development psychologists. It all goes back to the fundamental debate in talent development of any kind.  Are we born with certain skills and expertise or do we develop it with years of structured practice?  Researchers have argued along the entire spectrum of this question while practitioners have settled …

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Defining The Athletic Brain

via Axon Sports

Axon Sports is proud to be the cognitive training and protection partner of American Youth Football, the world’s largest football training organization. Recently, AYF asked our own Jason Cromer, lead cognitive neuroscienist at Axon, to describe what we call The Athletic Brain for their players and coaches.  The article below first appeared on the AYF site. By Jason Cromer, Ph.D. Yogi Berra may have been ahead of his time when he famously said, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”  For many sports, including football, an emphasis on cerebral skills is seen as the last frontier for performance improvement.  While traditional sport psychology focuses on the motivational side …

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A Quarterback’s Thinking, Fast And Slow

via Axon Sports

Your favorite NFL team breaks the huddle for the first time in 2012 and your shiny, new first-round draft pick quarterback comes to the line.  As he peers out over the defense, everyone, from the general manager to the fans, is confident they chose the right player in the NFL draft because of his dead-on answer to this question, “A train travels 20 feet in one-fifth of a second.  At this same speed, how many feet will it travel in 3 seconds?”  Although he struggled with the next question, “What is the ninth month of the year?”, his overall Wonderlic cognitive ability test came back with an above average score, giving …

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Gaze Control Helps Golfers and Surgeons

via Axon Sports

Surgeons now have a really good excuse to be out on the golf course.  Researchers have shown that the same training technique that will improve their putting can also improve their operating skills.  Dr Samuel Vine and Dr Mark Wilson, from Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, tested both elite golfers and surgical residents in two separate experiments using the gaze control technique known as the “Quiet Eye.” First, they divided 22 elite golfers, (handicaps less than 6), into two groups after their baseline putting performance was measured.  The control group received no additional training while the experimental group participated in Quiet Eye (QE) training, a method first …

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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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We talkin’ about practice: Allen Iverson and visualization

via Axon Sports

Following up on the last post about the power of visualization and the way that purely mental practice can improve physical skills, a fascinating little story about Allen Iverson that might change the way you think about his approach to the game, and his infamous attitude toward practice.  From Larry Platt’s Only the Strong Survive, about Iverson’s use of visualization techniques that he learned from his high school football coach: Kozlowski was a staunch believer in psychocybernetics. He’d preach the value of visualization long before such mental gymnastics were in vogue. He had Allen read the book Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon who maintained that, even after reconstructive nose …

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Athletes and Perceptual Learning

via Axon Sports

One of the most e-mailed New York Times articles this week is on Perceptual Learning, and how it is being applied in schools. The idea behind perceptual learning is that, rather than focusing first on the rules and explicit logic behind a problem or skill, students should start by working with problems in a hands-on, concrete way, in order to develop a naturalistic, intuitive understanding of the task at hand. The concepts raise a whole host of exciting questions about how athletes might learn differently, too. Via NYTimes: Most American middle school students, though they understand what fractions represent, don’t do so well when tested on their ability to change one …

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Virtual Reality Training for Athletes

via Axon Sports

Continuing with the recent theme of highlighting the research outposts around the world that are doing great work around cognitive training for athletes, we come to Queens’ University of Belfast, where the researchers in the Virtual Reality Lab are doing some very interesting work around using virtual interfaces for elite rugby training.  The technology allows you to see the world through the athlete’s eyes. Via PsychCentral: Team members from the Ulster Rugby club worked with researchers in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast on a range of virtual training scenarios that test expert players’ perceptual skills. Lead researcher, Dr. Cathy Craig, is a senior lecturer in visual perception. She …

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Hardware Vs. Software: Does Sports Vision Training Work?

via Axon Sports

Yesterday we looked at a new study that compared the pre- and post-training visual performance of athletes who used Nike’s new Vapor Strobes vs. a control group.  The study aimed to test whether athletes’ visual performance increased after using the strobe goggles, which have lenses that flicker between clear and opaque to reduce the amount of visual information that the athlete receives, and found modest effects in some areas, none in others. It makes for a nice jumping-off point to talk about the field of “sports vision training”, “eye training” or “sensory training” and the hardware vs. software debate around which skills in the visual-perceptual-cognitive system are most apt to improve …

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