Brain Assessments and Training for Competitive Swimmers
BASELINE TESTING = FUNCTION ASSESSEMENT
Baseline testing provides information about the function of different aspects of brain. A swimmer could be doing well in their sport but asymmetries in brain function can be what is holding them back from achieving an even higher level of performance. Every little thing is important when it comes to performance in the pool. 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.
FUNCTION = PERFORMANCE
FOCUS which is essential for all swimmers can be increased with brain based exercises. Your ability to focus when on the starting block is crucial. As brain focus comes down, distractions increase. Impulse control decreases. The slightest sound or movement can cause you to default from your race. The ability to BLOCK OUT DISTRACTIONS is key for any well timed start.
A swimmers stroke is like a dance that requires RHYTHM AND TIMING. Rhythm and timing are governed by your brain. The coordination, speed and quickness of your feet and arms are dependent on the functional level of your brain.
Having perfect BALANCE is key in competitive swimming. The power off the blocks will be influenced by the areas of brain that control balance. Each and every time you turn your head to breath, you are driving inner ear mechanisms that are in turn firing to affect areas of the brain that control the coordination of your limbs. Moreover, each flip turn is dependent on the integrity of your balance. Without an ideal balance system (i.e. vestibular system) your stroke, your start, your turns will be less than ideal.
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 distracted thus slower to react? In the world of competitive swimming these seemingly small differences are what determines gold from bronze.