The new Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs uncovers a wave of new tools and technologies that are helping people better understand how the brain works in order to extract a higher level of performance
Some of the best motivational speeches from coaches can be found on YouTube, filmed with an iPhone right before the team runs out onto the field. This ritual is not just for show, it can serve an important role in a person’s or a group’s performance. Many athletes would agree that the mental part of their training is as important as the physical. Whether it’s fast-paced music hyping them up for a run, a soothing podcast enhancing recovery or a personal trainer pushing you to the limit, all top performers utilize some sort of mental support to keep them going. As technology progresses further, athletes can turn to emerging technologies for this same support, to improve motivation, focus, emotion and the ability to visualize success—before, during and after a training session.
These platforms and techniques also serve as a valuable resource for coaches to understand the psyche of their athletes and track how different mental routines impact their overall success.
An example of this is a company that helps baseball players get into the right mindset by leveraging the immersion of virtual reality. EON Sports’ iCube helps The Tampa Bay Rays baseball team by visualizing pitches and environmental conditions in a VR batting simulation. The technology makes training sessions more readily available and gives players extra bouts of practice while placing less strain on their bodies. The team can also simulate extreme scenarios against the toughest pitchers in the league, providing even more preparation before an important game.
Sportswear company Nike is also stepping into the field of mental performance training. The brand teamed up with AKQA to create ProGenius, an app that helps soccer players train their mental game with a range of different tools. The features are meant to improve decision-making, strategy, confidence, visualization and reaction time on the field. Nike also worked with several prominent athletes to develop unique gamified exercises that are fun to play, and to teach the performer how to counter their opponents.
Mental training provides proven results. According to a report by Computers & Education, 62 percent of studies indicate that simulation-based instruction can provide statistically significant learning outcome gains. “Mixed reality technology will feed through to more affordable systems […] thus it will be possible to have critical training data appropriately combined with real world 3D images tailored to the individual elite athlete’s needs” said Henry White, UK Sport Partnership Lead at BAE Systems.
Other industries are taking note as well. Companies are beginning to employ coaches to improve workplace conditions, as well as the mental health of their employees. Brands can also utilize these new platforms to help employees track how their daily workload connects with their professional and personal goals. Whether a corporation, amateur athlete, or professional soccer player, leveraging in-depth mental training can be a unique way to uncover insights and optimize your lifestyle.
Download PSFK’s Sports Debrief to gain insight into how emerging tools, technologies and service models are evolving the sports world and pushing athletes ahead of the competition. Take advantage of the full findings, and exclusive articles to understand how the latest wearable tech, dietary routines and cognitive techniques can unlock actionable lessons in your work.