Preventative Brain Assessments and Training for Baseball Players
FUNCTION = PERFORMANCE
How your brain is functioning will determine how well you play the game of baseball. Visual function, balance, reaction time and decision making are all functions of the brain that when functioning at an optimal level, can help the player achieve their highest performance. Basic ImPACT baselines are an absolute must and a deeper understanding of how well your brain is functioning can be determined with a comprehensive evaluation.
VISUAL FUNCTION is essential for any baseball player. It only takes a split second of distraction to cause you to drop a ball. When your mind wanders, your eyes also wander. If your mind is locked in, your eyes will be locked in. The more your eyes are locked on to the target, the better you will be able to track the ball. Quick eye movements, eye tracking, visual fixation are all visual functions that are governed by the brain and will make the difference between an amazing catch or an error and a home run or a strike out.
FOCUS is essential for all baseball players and can be increased with brain based exercises. Under pressure, brain focus can decrease resulting in increased distractions. The slightest sound or movement can cause the eyes to come off the target which will affect your hits, catches and throws.
A batter’s capacity to hit the ball requires RHYTHM AND TIMING. Rhythm and timing are governed by your brain. The coordination, speed and quickness of the feet, torso and arms are dependent on the functional level of the brain.
Perfect BALANCE is central to the performance of all baseball players. How agile you are, how quickly you can react, your ability to turn and catch the ball and your ability to hit the ball are fully dependent on brain functions associated with balance (i.e. vestibular system). Moreover, balance function also relates to the stability of your spine, knees and ankles. Injury prevention starts with perfect balance.
Motor functions are developed through repetition. You develop these built in motor programs through practice. However, the area of brain that holds these motor programs is governed, controlled or initiated by other frontal cortex areas. MOTOR PLANNING, MOTOR SEQUENCING, MOTOR INITIATION is the difference between being first off the mark or being caught off guard and slow to react?
Above all else, DECISION MAKING is what makes a baseball player reach their maximum potential. The mental agility of a player is crucial to the success of any team. Content and speed of processing can be measured and conditioned.
In the end, when we are talking about concussions, prevention, performance or brain training, it isn’t an either or situation but rather a continuum of care: