Learning Breakthrough in Sport

Kid boy and girl on soccer stadium fighting for ball

 

Neuro-development – Giving you the edge in sport!

Learning Breakthrough in sport helps a player to develop mentally. It creates an environment in which a player can multi-task enabling many decisions to be taken simultaneously. Once a task is mastered new neural connections are created. Over time the connections ‘hard-wire’ promoting permanent neurological change and a new environment for effective and efficient processing of the game.

 

The science behind the Learning Breakthough programme comes through four main elements.

The first is the function of the vestibular (balance) system.  As NASA said in the 1960’s, when researching weightless flight, “if the body is not in balance then the mind does not work efficiently.” The vestibular is the first sense to be developed when a baby is forming in the womb.  If the vestibular is underdeveloped at this stage then the networks of neural pathways may not integrate correctly or efficiently. 

In sport, this lack of integration can lead to difficulties with visual judgement of the timing of a pass, spatial awareness of other players, understanding the force required to make a pass and reach your target etc.  When the brain is not processing information as a smooth and controlled function it leads to low concentration, inability to take-in instructions from the coach, poor sleep patterns and in some cases aggressive behaviour or questioning the coach’s judgment. Which symptoms a player will display is dependent on which neural pathways are effected.

The second element is the cerebellum. The cerebellum receives information from other structures, such as the inner ear and vestibular system, and fine-tunes incoming sensorimotor information to achieve smooth movements. When the cerebellum is damaged or not fully developed from birth individuals can show movements that are erratic or slow, demonstrate an inability to judge distance, have difficulty performing rapid movements, and walk or run with an unnatural gait.  Although the cerebellum has many responsibilities, its central function is to coordinate and manage motor activities. Balance, coordination, posture, equilibrium and eye movement are all controlled in part by the cerebellum. It also functions to calibrate motor activities such that our movements have a smooth, flowing nature to them.

The third element is body-eye coordination and right and left hemisphere integration. Along with having two eyes, two arms, and two legs on our bodies, we also have two sides to our brains. Learning Breakthrough works on the premise that if, for example, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing then the two sides of the brain are not integrating effectively. Equally, if the player’s two eyes are not working together in sync, they will send a mixed or chaotic signal to the brain.  This can produce a panic response in the body (flight or fight reaction) which slows down the processing/reaction speed of the body when a ball is received or being passed by the player.

The fourth element is eye tracking and focus.  When a player’s eyes have difficulty focusing on an object and tracking it smoothly in space it means that they also have difficulty maintaining their concentration levels on the pitch. This can result in negative effects on the pitch such as: slow processing, difficulty reading the game, trouble pre-empting what is going to happen next, etc. Additionally, it can lead to the brain being in constant chaos, making even simple instructions difficult to follow. This is due to the brain becoming overloaded with the visual input to the detriment of the auditory system.

Learning Breakthrough is a complete neuro-development programme of balance and co-ordination exercises that includes eye tracking, timing, rhythm, spatial awareness, mathematical tests whilst performing specifically designed exercises and balancing at the same time.  Through neuroplasticity, the exercises enable neural pathways to connect and ‘hard-wire,’ re-organising the way in which the brain processes information received from the vestibular, cerebellum and sensory systems.

 

[3] Read at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/26/sport/football/football-brain-mourinho-messi/index.html

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