Brains, Blazers, and Neurocore

The Portland Trail Blazers have a new training strategy this season. The NBA Team has partnered up with Neurocore, a company that focuses on brain training. After a game or practice, players head straight to a special room where they watch DVD’s for thirty minutes, with a Neurocore Pro device placed on their heads. Through the use of low frequency waves, the device detects electrical activity in the brain. As long as players remain focused on what they are watching, the DVD plays, but if attention wanders or if too many thoughts intrude, the DVD stops playing, and players must refocus. It is important to complete this training right after the intense physical activity on the court, because the low frequency waves promote the deepest recovery.

The goal of having this period of intense focus is to improve the health and recovery of each athlete. More than two thousand reinforcements can be made to the brain in a thirty minute session, which allows high levels of recovery. Tim Royer, Neurocore’s founder, believes the brain training ultimately leads to peak performance on the basketball court. Pro athletes have demanding schedules which take a toll on their body systems. The sessions optimize brain function, as well as the performance of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine systems. Royer says the ability of the brain “to be in the zone is the next level in sports.” The director of health and performance for the Blazers, Dr. Chris Stackpole, believes the brain training will also lead to more quality rest between games, and Neurocore agrees by promising more restorative sleep following sessions.

NBA teams have always understood the importance of muscle memory, and players spend hours practicing moves on the court so they become automatic. Now, this technique has just extended to time off the court, and brains are going through training so that focus and relaxation can become as automatic as other practiced behaviors. Being able to have an element of control over the brain and being capable of entering a focused state at will, allows the Blazers to perform at their best during a game, then rest and recharge following the game.