Written by: Dubravka Rebic
Despite being released a little over 24 hours ago, Netflix's Quarterback has swiftly claimed the #2 spot for the most watched shows in the US on the platform today. The docuseries follows the lives of three quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota, giving fans an inside look at in-game action as well as their preparation and work-life balance.
In the fourth episode, Kirk Cousins, the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, tells us his secret to performing at his peak. Apart from what one would expect – prioritizing proper nutrition, healthy sleep patterns, and rigorous training – Cousins mentions training his brain with neurofeedback as part of his regimen.
It’s no secret that quarterbacks are faced with high-stress situations where they need to act fast while maintaining their focus and precision. And this is no easy feat. But by training his brain with neurofeedback, Cousins is able to improve his attention and self-control over mood and decrease reaction time so he can act when he needs to and how he needs to.
Kirk Cousins Uses Myndlift for Brain Training
In the fourth episode of Quarterback, Kirk Cousins comfortably sits in his car and streams a show on his phone while wearing a headset that measures his brainwave activity.
He's doing neurofeedback using Myndlift – a remote neurofeedback app, while also getting additional supervision and guidance through Neuropeak Pro.
Neuropeak Pro is a Myndlift partner that trains athletes to achieve peak performance by uniquely combining Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback training with neurofeedback. Together they've worked with hundreds of professional athletes and continue to forge an exciting path in the neuro-athletics category.
What Is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a type of brain training that uses real-time feedback to enable you to regulate your brain activity. This is typically done through the use of sensors, called electrodes, placed on the head to measure electrical activity in the brain (brainwaves).
This electrical activity is associated with your different levels of consciousness, including anxiety, alertness, sleep, or focus, and it can provide insights about your current mental state.
The feedback is provided by visual cues (like a game or video) or through auditory cues (such as music or sound). Just like Cousins shows us in episode 4 of Quarterback, when your brain is not in the target state – whether you’re unfocused, anxious, stressed, etc. – the volume may decrease or the images on the screen may become less focused or more difficult to see.
On the other hand, if your brain activity is within the right range, the volume will go up, or the screen will become brighter. This allows you to see or hear your brain activity in real time.
As a result, with practice and consistency, your brain will learn to associate the target brain activity with the reward, thereby regulating it to be in an optimal state – to improve focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and even enhance physical performance.
How Neurofeedback Helps Athletes
Most sports, including American football, rely heavily on mental performance and steady emotions. Players must not only be in peak physical performance, they need to make thousands of split-second decisions that require calmness, clarity, and focus as well.
Here are some ways that neurofeedback can help you become a better athlete:
1) Improves focus: Neurofeedback can help enhance the brainwaves associated with alertness and focus (beta and gamma) and decrease those slower brain waves related to brain fog and memory difficulties (theta).
2) Improves self-control over your mood: By stabilizing dysregulated brain patterns that are often associated with emotions like stress, anxiety and depression, neurofeedback can help decrease distraction and improve sports performance. As a result, it might be easier for athletes to make high-demand decisions.
3) Decreases reaction time: Training with neurofeedback has been shown to positively impact sports performance by decreasing reaction time and improving the decision-making process.
4) Helps with balance and coordination: Neurofeedback can help improve both static and dynamic body movements that are required for good coordination and balance.
5) Improves sleep quality: This is done by enhancing slower frequency brain waves, like delta and alpha, to promote relaxation and sleep.
Just as physical training aims to strengthen the body, peak performance neurofeedback training aims to strengthen your mind and regulate your brainwave patterns so that you can perform at the top of your game.
However, brain training requires consistency and practice. So, stay dedicated, enjoy the process, and be patient as you watch your well-being improve over time. With neurofeedback training, you can reach your full potential, just like top NFL players do!