December 11, 2015
In order to successfully achieve results at NeuroTracker and improve your sports performance, incorporating different skills is essential. We also call this, dual-tasking, in which the brain is asked to conduct different tasks. Each case is different and it is always recommended to conduct sessions with the help of a specialist or a trainer, but the following is a sample of some of the dual-tasks or stages that be incorporated with a NeuroTracker training program:
This is the first stage of NeuroTracker training and the most basic NeuroTracker training. This stage also includes the initial baseline phase and the consolidation phase. In the initial baseline phase, the user conducts 3 sessions and the average score represents their baseline. Following correct training protocols, and after going through a number of sessions, users are not expected to go below their initial baseline except in cases due to something affecting neuro-performance. For example, a sleep-deprived individual, or someone suffering from a hangover or a concussion might get a score below their initial baseline. With that being said, if let's say in Session 4 you receive a score below your initial baseline, there is no reason to worry, with more time, and more sessions, you will blow past your initial baseline.
The consolidation phase represents the following 12 sessions. During the consolidation phase, many users show rapid improvement, even when changing modes from Core to Dynamic or other modes.
The next stage of NeuroTracker includes incorporating a very basic skill. Just like any stage in which a new skill is introduced, users usually display a drop of speed threshold in the beginning. During this stage, the user is asked to stand up and just by standing, the user's brain has to use some of the resources it has to stand. This is partly to the fact that every brain has a certain mental capacity, and therefore, each added task takes away a portion of their mental capacity.
The third stage is balancing; the user is asked to use a balancing ball or a balancing board therefore dual-tasking by engaging their motor skills. This also incorporates a slight amount of movement therefore forcing the brain to quickly process a change in the viewing angle. Each time your eyes move, the brain has to reprocess the information it is receiving, which again takes a part of your mental capacity.
Optic flow is an optional stage that with the use of HD high-speed cameras can measure subtle movements in a person while doing NeuroTracker. During Optic flow, there is constant back-and-forth movement on the screen and that forces the user to subconsciously sway back-and-forth. A perfectly healthy individual should have some movement, but barely noticeable without the camera. It is almost impossible to stay completely still in this mode.
In this stage, it is recommended for a user to add a sport-specific task that includes an element of control, rather than movement. Think of stick handling; you are relatively staying in your position, but this includes a very specific controlling ability. In the video, the two users doing NeuroTracker are focused on control while tracking. Usually, this represents an essential aspect of the sport, such as dribbling in basketball or puck handling in hockey.
The next level of sport-specific training should include a movement task. Just as in the video, the user is forced to adjust their viewing angle on a constant basis, which really adds a complex task to their cognitive ability. Not only they are using their motor skills in a more difficult manner than standing or balancing, but they are changing their position in a more extreme way.
The 7th stage of NeuroTracker training includes a very physical element to the training. This introduces a high element of fatigue into the training. Users who are fatigued have constantly shown lower scores at NeuroTracker, so with strength training, fatigue is almost guaranteed to happen as the user is progressing within the session.
The ultimate holy grail of NeuroTracker training, tactical awareness is the most mentally-tasking stage. During tactical awareness, the user is asked to identify and react to a complex, sport-specific element. For example, a football quarterback would be doing NeuroTracker, but at the same time, an image of the defensive formation of the opposing team is viewed. The quarterback would then have to identify the formation, call an audible based on his own offensive formation, and of course keep tracking of the moving targets. This can also apply to the military when a soldier could be provided with different images of different elements and he has to identify if they are a threat or not, react to the threat if applicable, also while tracking the moving targets.
All these stages are suggestions set out by the NeuroTracker team in order to achieve the best results possible. However, as stated in the beginning, the main resource that any user should use is a specialist or a trainer that is fully aware of their goals, objectives and situation, including any circumstances that might affect their performance. Just like physiotherapy, there are some regular exercises that any injured person can follow, but at the same time, ideally, they would use a physiotherapist in order to achieve the best results.
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