Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Training Your Brain
The entire mission over at P3 is staying ahead of everybody else when it comes to training the body to achieve human potential. And when I say that body I mean all of it, including the parts we may not associate with athletic performance. Lately, they’ve been focusing on the mind. From their blog:
The brain is the command center that drives the body’s performance. How it functions affects an athlete’s control of focus, speed of reaction, quality of sleep, efficiency of motor movement, emotional reactivity, and ability to mentally recover after an error. When the brain is able to efficiently function, an athlete is better at performing under pressure, sustaining focus, as well as mentally resetting during competition.
“Sure, sure,” you’re probably saying. “Of course athletes need to control their minds. They’re under a lot of pressure to perform. But I workout in my living room while the rest of the family is asleep. How does this affect me?”
But I submit that your life is probably harder than a professional athlete’s. Sure, if you fall over during Yoga X there aren’t five million people watching but you also probably don’t have the means to focus 100% on your training and performance. In fact, you’re probably trying to it in around your job (or two, this being America and all), family, maybe school and whatever vestiges of social life you can still weave in. Quieting your over-stuffed brain long enough to get the most out of your workout takes fortitude. Just think how much easier life would be if you had the ability to control your anxiety or stress levels in this hectic world. Getting interested yet?
After a basic analysis of how brain training works the article concludes:
Along with baseball players initial observations of better sleep, the data showed that P3 athletes improved their focus (increased beta, decreased theta), reaction and mental processing speed (decreasing dis-regulation and increasing regulation, brain wave patterns are optimized which enables more efficient processing of sensory information) and stress regulation (having the correct alpha to beta ratio) throughout the off-season. Perhaps most interestingly, we are already able to identify hitters vs. pitchers based on their original EEG patterns.
Being able to quantify and train mental performance systems, similarly to how we quantify physical systems, is very exciting and will prove to be the new frontier in performance.
As cool as this might sound most of us don’t yet have the means to make it happen, at least at this level. P3 is partnered with a company called Neurotopia, which makes equipment to test and train brain function. And while this stuff’s a ways off from becoming standard exercise equipment in any household juggling whether or not they can afford an extra set of dumbells, just the knowledge that training your brain is effective should get the ball rolling.
We already know that, with our customers, by far the biggest obstacle in their path to success is motivation. This is why we’ve created such a strong support system and was the catalyst for our coaching network. As we learn more about the effects of brain training you can be sure that it’s going to make its way into our training systems as well.
pics: p3 athlete parker coffin in a situation where the benefits of mind control are obvious. below, visionary businessman jackie treehorn's been championing the potential of mind training for decades.