October 20, 2010
Student-Athletes Train on Latest 3D Technology
VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University student-athletes are
participating in the world’s first 3D perceptual sports training
program to enhance mental agility central to athletic
Mark Powell, VSU alumnus and vice president of market development for CogniSens Athletics, Inc., provided VSU with the technology to boost the cognitive capacity of players in athletic competition as well as the classroom. Powell said CogniSens is proud to collaborate with VSU to collect and analyze data to format and implement new training opportunities based on this information.
“We have used this state-of-the-art technology to work with the NHL and various rugby and football teams, like England’s Manchester United; VSU is the first university to experience CogniSens, providing VSU Athletics with technology that is second to none,” said Powell, who graduated from VSU in 1983. “Athletes will be able to react quicker and perform more effectively as they ‘train their brain’ in processing immediate stimulus into better decision making capabilities on the field.”
Integrating the Technology
VSU Strength and Conditioning Coach Michael Doscher is charged with incorporating the mental training into teams’ routine weight lifting and conditioning schedules. The computerized training is conducted in a “cave” or dark room, which enables student-athletes to view 3D spheres highlighted for tracking as they bounce around the screen. Memory and response levels are tested as the balls gain in momentum, and over time, push athletes to improve mental dexterity.
“The spheres randomly cross over or deflect from each other, testing trajectory prediction and working memory. Successive trials optimize stimulation for each athlete through changes in sphere speed according to response levels,” said Powell, who played baseball at VSU. “The research speaks for itself. Student-athletes who trains on this program say they feel as if the game has ‘slowed down.’ The use of the CogniSens technology enables them to anticipate and react much quicker than before and make better decisions.”
Models Sharpen Focus, Reverse Injury
The training modules -- which are safe, non-physical and confidential -- enable coaches to determine student-athletes’ in-field tracking skills and mental performance responses to stress and fatigue. Research has also proven it effective in determining the level of trauma from a concussion as well as aid in the recovery process.
“Students who experience concussions or other injuries are now able to keep up their mental agility, even if they cannot be on the field,” said Sports Application Manager Jonathan Augat, who will spend the next few weeks training VSU coaches about the program’s various components.
Doscher said VSU is eager to reap the benefits of the latest approaches to athletic training and is confident the players will embrace the system, particularly since it is similar to the gaming technology with which they are so familiar.
“You can train the body to be explosive and fast, but there is still such a huge mental difference between making plays and not making plays,” said Doscher. “We watch film, but this added element is going to help focus their attention and keep them sharp on game day.”
Go to the CogniSens website, http://www.cognisens.com/, for more information about VSU’s latest training program.