03. Performance

Sports Vision Training Used by NHL Goaltenders

December 4, 2015

Sports Vision and Elite Athletes

During the last few years, awareness surrounding the importance of sports vision training has risen exponentially. High-level athletes are now used to the idea that just like going to the gym, their brains need training programs as well. However, the challenge is in finding a training software that has scientific backing behind it and directly seeing results on the field, in a reasonable timeframe. In addition, a big concern is the amount of time each training session takes away from their busy schedules.

Braden Holtby, an NHL star goaltender playing for the Washington Capitals, has incorporated sports vision training into his routine. Sports Vision training allows athletes to grow their abilities to perform better on- and off-the-field. Athletes have to make decisions in fractions of a second, and the ability of their brain to process information, in other words visual information processing speed, is essential to success. NeuroTracker has directly shown an impact on improving visual information processing speed.

Why are some players better than others?

Another area that NeuroTracker helps in, is situational awareness. As an athlete, you need to quickly process the situation around you in order to identify the opportunities and the threats. Consider for example, the last 8 Norris Trophy winners, the award given to the best defensemen in the NHL. They are Nicklas Lidstrom (2 times), Duncan Keith (2 times), Erik Karlsson (2 times) and P.K. Subban and Zdeno Chara, one time each. All of them share one thing in common, they are as reliable defensively as they are electric offensively. This is a great example of how important situational awareness is. You need to be in the right time, at the right place. By doing perceptual-cognitive training, your situational awareness will increase. As Wayne Gretzky once said: "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." NeuroTracker not only allows you to maintain sharpness and focus, but it also helps you anticipate where the play will happen, before it actually happens.

Other things that differentiate star goaltenders in the NHL from the others is consistency. Inconsistency can be attributed to lack of focus, or in other times to fatigue. Imagine the days in which you had very little sleep, the next day you would not be performing at peak level as you normally would. NeuroTracker has shown great effects on cognitive stamina and being able to maintain the top level performance that is needed for elite athletes.

As more awareness is being built around the importance of sport vision training, the main challenge becomes understanding the scientific backing of each product. What differentiates scientifically-backed products from the ones that have no basis is transferability. Transferability means that conducting the training program will translate to better results in other areas that share the same elements, even if they are not an identical situation. In other words, a reliable and proven sports vision program would allow the athlete to perform better in their sport, and in other areas, as a direct result of their training. NeuroTracker conducted a study with a soccer team that showed significant observed improvement in their passing accuracy. You can download the study and find out more about transferability HERE.

How can you become the next Vezina Trophy winner (Best Goaltender in the league)?

Think about the best goaltenders in the NHL, what differentiates them is the ability to anticipate the play before it happens. Whether it's Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, Braden Holtby or Pekka Rinne, it's about being at the right place at the right time, and knowing where the play is going to happen before it happens.

Sports vision is now a prerequisite for elite-level performance. Just ask Braden Holtby and his 16-4-0 record (Most wins in the league), 1.96 GAA (3rd best in the league), and .927 Save Percentage.

You can read more about NHL goaltenders using sports vision training here: Unmasked - Vision training a new tool for goaltenders

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