Brain training programs have become a popular tool for improving cognitive capacities in athletes, and NeuroTracker is at the forefront of this surge. Systematic training programs with brain training tools look to affect executive functions of the brain. Given how important perceptual-cognitive skills are, especially in dynamic sports, training programs have been aimed at improving such skills.
Where Did the Technology Come From?
Developed in 2009, NeuroTracker was co-founded by Professor Jocelyn Faubert, in the Faubert Lab at the University of Montreal. Considered the world’s preeminent expert in visual perception, Professor Faubert’s goal with NeuroTracker was the application of neuroscience to improve cognitive abilities with real-world benefits for human performance.
It was first adopted by elite sports teams in the EPL, NHL, NFL and NBA, with the product being constantly evolved to meet the needs of athletes. The science behind NeuroTracker is not new, but was developed out decades of research at the Faubert Lab.
How Does it Work?
The workouts on NeuroTracker are very simple, the core of the program is similar to an immersive video game. The program can be run on personal computers, as well as large screens such as TVs and projectors for greater immersion.
Stereoscopic 3D is a key characteristic behind the product’s efficacy, rather than just the two-dimensional restrictions of a normal computer-based program. The use of 3D vision challenges your depth perception and spatial awareness in the same manner as real-world performance, and provides increased cognitive benefits.
Traditionally, this required special displays like a 3D projector or VR HMD. However, with the need for flexibility in today’s technological landscape, specialized anaglyph glasses have been developed, which convert a 2D display (such as a laptop), to a 3D display.
The task itself challenges you to track several dynamically moving targets at the same time. For athletes, this involves following 4 targets (3D balls), which randomly collide and bounce among another 4 distractors. The user is asked to keep track of them for 8 seconds, then identify them.
Get them correct and the speed will increase hand-in-hand with the difficulty, and vice versa if you get them wrong. This mean each session adapts to the athlete’s precise training needs at any given time.
What are the Benefits?
NeuroTracker essentially stimulates high-level mental resources across the brain, and can also include neurophysical training with dual-task programs for specific sports. Each session lasts around 6 minutes, and around 3 hours of total training has been shown to robustly improve executive functions, attention, working memory and response control, among other abilities. For real-world athletic performance, this has been demonstrated through reducing soccer player’s decision-making errors in competitive play, by almost half.
Depending upon what particular sport you’re playing, the goals are different, but NeuroTracker requires you to focus and react to what you’re seeing as if it was a real-world situation. The goal of the overall training process is that the program is capable of giving you a competitive edge while playing in your particular sport.
However, the developers claim that the improvements can also make a difference in other areas of your life, as well. The system is currently being used by many athletes around the world, as well the United States Military. For example, this blog covers it’s applied use in Mixed Martial Arts.
How Does it Apply to Golf
One of the many benefits to the use of the program is the improvement in focus. In particular, studies show clear gains in selective, sustained and distributed attention. Providing the ability to keep your attention on your key objectives on the field, or in the case of golfers, while on the course.
Sensory distractions are extremely important to avoid during a round of golf. By learning to hone your attention to one single item at a time, it can help you to tune out the outside world while focusing on your tee shot, making your way down the fairway, or setting up over that birdie putt.
The application for golfers can be immensely helpful, as staying focused on the course while being able to block out distractions, can be the difference in winning a tournament and being down lower on the leaderboard. Training your mind to block out any distraction while playing golf is a key skill that all successful golfers strive to perfect. As I covered in the Definitive Guide: The 17 Best Golf Tips Of All Time, this can also include the mental focus that is applied by experts in-between shots.
Another way to think about it, is that successful golfers have to rely on “tunnel vision” during their rounds. This is where the ability to eliminate distractions through the use of the NeuroTracker program can be facilitated, helping you to stay sharp and focused in the heat of battle on the course.
By training yourself to focus on one single item at a time, your golf game will benefit greatly, as all too often the biggest hurdle to a good next shot is the memory of a bad prior shot.
To find out about other ways NeuroTracker can be applied to golf performance, check out 5 Different Ways Experts Use NeuroTracker
About Jordan Fuller
Jordan is a retired golfer who never stops his love for it. He is focusing on mentoring and coaching young athletes who have the same passion. Jordan continued loving golf as he writes on golf performance in-depth on his golf publication site. Golf can be played both in the course and at home using a golf simulator – indoor and outdoor. Jordan strongly believes that having focus and alertness of mind are advantages in any sports. If you are looking for different ways to improve your game, then visit his website at Golf Influence.
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