Cognition is essentially the mental function of gathering knowledge and processing it into usable intelligent thinking, situational awareness, judgement and problem solving. Cognitive abilities as applied to athletes and sports are used to track player and ball/puck movements, see the playing field with a wide range of vision, anticipate the movements of opponents, recognize patterns, develop strategic awareness and make fast and efficient decisions. In essence, cognitive training refers to how well you see movement in dense environments common in fast-moving sports.
REACTFORGE focuses exclusively on training underlying cognitive capacity that impact in-game performance such as perspicacity, visual acuity, processing speed, decision making and finally translating that process into efficient and effective movement or action all combining for optimized reaction speed.
High performance training is about identifying the abilities needed to perform at a high level and then developing ways to improve those abilities. Improving athletic success has already been well defined for: cardiovascular capacity, strength, speed, balance, flexibility, specialized skill based on sport, motor control, healing and recovery capacity, and yes even mental intangibles like confidence and determination. Scientists have identified the next frontier and additional ability needed for elite athletic performance: perceptual-cognitive ability.
Reaction and reflex are often confused, but there are important differences. Reaction enables a voluntary response to all types of external stimuli while reflex is an instantaneous involuntary response to prevent injury. Since reflexes need to be processed faster than a reaction, nerve impulses travel directly through the spinal cord and does not involve the brain. In contrast, reaction involve movements that are consciously made which are processed through the brain first.
Reflexes aren’t overly affected by lifestyle choices or mental prowess. They’re always working behind the scenes whether you’re paying attention to your surroundings or not. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with reaction time. Your ability to react quickly can wane over time. The brain naturally gets slower due to age, impairment or degeneration. Poor health and lifestyle choices can exacerbate the problem as well.
The good news is that reaction speed can be improved for anyone of any age at any time.
Cognitive training, also often referred to as ‘brain’ training, can be described as a program of targeted exercises designed to help maintain or improve brain function. Often such training programs are used by health professionals including occupational therapists, physiotherapists and even psychologists as a part of the treatment plan designed to help improve brain function after an injury or medical event such as heart attack or stroke. Research has shown that carefully designed, systematic brain exercises can have a strong impact on improving certain cognitive skills including memory, attention and problem-solving to improve sport performance.
This is a very common question that is asked by athletes and parents. We welcome everyone to ‘come as you are’ and truly discover the difference a training session can make. In almost every case, athletes walk away from a single session more aware of their surroundings and energized (often followed by “spinning” but not due to dizziness, but a workout of their brain).
Having an attitude of being coachable is a life skill that will continually provide dividends for personal growth. Being a part of REACTFORGE Programs means that you’re self motivated to learn, improve, transform and excel with a willingness to get out of your comfort zone to become unstoppable. Keeping an open mind combined with the ability to internalize training practices and constructive input is an inherent part of our process of creating meaningful results for yourself. That means apply your training and learning insights immediately into your practices and games. An added benefit from the training program is heightened self awareness to authentically gauge your abilities and capacities resulting in accelerated progress.
The impact of in-game improvement and performance will vary for every individual depending on your age, gender and years of having played sports. Some experience a difference after just one training session while others might need more sessions. The overall benefits will amplify from having a committed approach that cognitive training is an investment in yourself for the long term. One certainty is that cognitive training does make a meaningful difference. The key is to apply the learning until it’s transformed into a powerful subconscious habit naturally threaded into your sport through practices and games.
Like any new skill acquired, seeing and thinking faster requires practice and maintenance to stay at your peak performance level. We’ve seen the best performing athletes that have worked with us on a weekly basis, and realized steady improvements over time.
Our base indicators that the athlete is improving will be evident from our performance assessments and resulting generated data.
Subjectively speaking, many of our athletes tell us that they are making better decisions at a much faster rate and that they have an increased sense of awareness around them. The most common feedback that we receive is that the game starts to feel slower around them due to their awareness and brain activity working faster than before. Many athletes will refer to this as gaining and having more time and space.
The most effective way to make the best of this unique program such as this is to apply it to your sport as quickly and regularly as possible. In parallel, we recommend to our athletes to utilize the SwitchedOn app designed to develop the stimulus that athletes can use while at home or on the road. With the SwitchedOn Pro subscription, every athlete has access to our agility and stickhandling program (applicable to hockey) available through the app.
Based on our experience and the data gathered over the years, we continue to see clients improve in their sport as they continue on with their careers and with their mental well being post-career. The overall benefits will amplify from having a committed approach that cognitive training is an investment in yourself for the long term.
Optometrists are primary health care specialists trained to examine and diagnose eye sight deficiencies, indications of injury, ocular diseases or abnormalities that may impact general health. They also provide clinical advice, prescribe glasses or contact lenses in addition to referring patients for further medical treatment when necessary.
Those looking to improve their vision from a literal sense would be correct with receiving care from a primary care eye professional. Having good eye sight or visual acuity is a basic need to perform well in any sport. With ReactForge, cognitive training opens much broader possibilities towards having applied vision that holistically functions with three additional critical factors that include: instant processing visual input, optimized decision making and movement. Combined with focused speed and minimized reaction time, the result is having a complete performance package to intuitively manage in-game situational variables with unmatched awareness.
Elite performance in sports is a game of inches. The REACTFORGE Cognitive Training System is specifically designed to provide athletes with an unfair in-game advantage. A critical component of our proprietary training method includes evaluating cognitive performance and applied targeted training using big data and advanced analytics. Technology and training data acquisition has removed the guesswork to accurately identify areas of performance blind spots and weaknesses in addition to tracking cognitive development progress. As equipment and technology continues to evolve, REACTFORGE is dedicated to cognitive development innovation and tailored training for all our clients. With over 1 million data points collected and 300+ different types of drills and exercises, the REACTFORGE Cognitive Training System is a complete game changer.