Want to know how pro athletes train their brains to be quicker, sharper, even smarter? The same way you train your biceps: repetition, says Jason Sada, president of Arizona-based performance company Axon Sports, which studies the connection between neuroscience and sports science to perfect cognitive training techniques.
“Everything from the movement of your body to the decisions you make is driven by the brain,” says Sada. “Through cognitive training, we can help athletes handle more while performing at a higher level.”
To do that, Axon uses immersive technology—its baseline tests involve dark rooms and colorful lighting—to boost decision-making accuracy, and speed. It works with star QBs to read coverages, with big-league hitters to handle various pitchers’ deliveries, and with hoops stars (Sada met Mark Cuban, now an Axon investor, through the Dallas Mavericks, the firm’s first NBA client) to execute against defenses.
Athletes’ mobile devices are even loaded with simulated tasks so they can practice on the go. So you’re not a pro baller—you can still reap the benefits of mind exercises.
“For any athlete in training,” says Sada, “there’s a significant amount of load occurring in the brain. We have tools and capabilities to help manage those loads and help process them while continuing to make extraordinarily high-speed decisions that ultimately are helping you perform better.”