Human Performance, Performance | Dec 2, 2019
In this latest instalment, Optios asks what technology will winning teams be using to optimize players' performance and gain a competitive advantage in the early-2020s?

An article brought to you in association with our Partners Optios:

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Optios, formerly The Platypus Institute is a pioneering leader in the field of maximizing elite-level sports performance based on neurocognitive assessments and has extensive experience working with coaches and athletes. For more information click here.

Early adopters who successfully integrate the latest and greatest technology into their training have a competitive advantage.

But what new technologies are out there that have the power to unlock dormant human potential and optimize elite players’ performance?

When it comes to high-tech ways to optimize players’ performance, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding wearable technology; applied neuroscience and the neuroperformance space is generating some buzz, too.

‘Neuroperformance’ may not be a household word yet, but using applied neuroscience to optimize players’ performance is currently giving a handful of ‘in the know’ elite players a head-to-toe advantage. Players who aren’t early adopters and haven’t recognized the value of using applied neuroscience to optimize performance may experience some disadvantages.

Optios is on a mission to empower, elevate, and educate coaches and athletes about the significance of neuroperformance assessments, brain signature tracking, and cognitive training as the next frontier in the world of elite sport. Optios holds over 50 patents and has a multidisciplinary team of thought leaders who are pioneering the neuroperformance space.

Early adopters have been using wearable technology for years. Despite all the headline-grabbing hype of wearable technology going mainstream—as indicated by Google gobbling up FitBit in an all-cash deal valued at $2.1 billion earlier this month—to elite level performers, most mass market wearable technologies are yesterday’s news.

As an example, last month, Apple boasted that the new iPhone 11 has groundbreaking ultra wide band [UWB] technology that can track body positions within centimeters and promises to be revolutionary. But, in fact, as a recent Leaders article points out, NBA teams have been using UWB-based precise position data and live tracking systems to analyze players’ training sessions and performance for over four years. Again, wearable technology is an essential tool, but it’s also becoming standard issue.

What technology will winning teams be using to optimize players’ performance and gain a competitive advantage in the early-2020s?

The new frontier for the optimization of players’ performance on a large scale is neuroscience-based technologies. Advances in applied brain science are radically changing the way individual athletes and coaches can optimize each player’s performance.

“Applied neuro is the future of elite sports performance. Focusing on training our brains makes us fitter, faster, and stronger,” according to Troy Thomson, Elite Performance Manager of the National Rugby League.” Optios allows us to gain insights into our players’ neurocognitive abilities, helping them reach a whole new level of performance and informing our coaching decisions.”

In a recent op-ed for Worth magazine, David Bach, who is the founder and CEO of Optios, explained why neuroperformance technologies promise to be a game-changer. “The major driver of the neuroperformance revolution is the massive competitive advantage it can offer in a variety of important arenas,” Bach said. “Consider professional sports. During the past few years, professional athletes like Tom Brady and Steph Curry have begun aggressively incorporating advanced, scientifically proven brain ‘training’ systems into their daily regimens—and they credit these systems as one of the main reasons for their ongoing success.”

David Bach understands how to optimize performance based on science; he’s a Harvard-trained physician and serial entrepreneur who previously founded and built three healthcare technology companies, each of which grew to over $100million in value.

How does Optios help player’s optimize performance?

“Optios’ mission is to translate scientific discoveries from cognitive neuroscience and sports psychology into products that can help elite performers unleash their true potential,” Gaurav Sharma Executive Vice President and Head of Applied Research at Optios said in a recent interview. “We understand that just as each individual is different so is their cognitive potential.”

“Our unique  Assess → Train → Boost paradigm at Optios is built upon the proven science of neuroplasticity-mediated learning that can be tailored to the athlete’s individual cognitive potential, ” Sharma says. “By combining validated neurobehavioral assessments with real-time, state-of-the-art brain signal mapping and training, our technology provides athletes a window into their own cognition and a roadmap to improve it.”

Gaurav Sharma joined Optios from Battelle Memorial Institute, where he led the organization’s NeuroLife program. Battelle is a private nonprofit global research and development organization committed to applied science and technology development for the greater good.

While at Battelle, Sharma was also the Principal Investigator on the organization’s Next Generation Non-Surgical Neurotechnologies (N3) program. N3 was funded by a $21million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the development of performance-enhancing neurotechnologies. DARPA is an agency of the United States Department of Defense that specializes in emerging technologies.

Gaurav Sharma’s team at Battelle was the first to demonstrate that individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries can control their hands by using signals recorded from within their brains. This work ultimately led to a fully engineered product that enabled paralyzed individuals to control their hands with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI).

Optios is pioneering scientifically-validated ways to optimize players’ performance. What sets Optios apart? As Sharma sums up: “Optios’ real strength lies in its employees, with decades of combined experience in applied neuroscience, human performance improvement, sports science, product development, market research, and entrepreneurship.”

This type of expertise sets Optios apart from others in the neuroperformance space. If something is not scientifically validated to optimize players’ performance, Optios won’t use it.

Tom Nugent leads Optios’s Elite Performance Solutions (EPS) division and is quick to admit that he loves to “geek out” when it comes to talking about using cognitive training tools to optimize players’ performance. But, in addition to almost two decades’ experience in brain research, Tom is also a former Division I athlete and knows how to explain applied neuroscience to other athletes.

“The science is at a point now where we can make a significant and demonstrable improvement to their neck-up performance,” Nugent says.

“Spending a day at their practice, riding on the bus with the team, living their life for a little bit, gives us the opportunity to inject their opportunity to improve their cognitive behavior and performance in a way that makes sense for them.”

If your players are currently using wearable technology that only monitor the body from the neck down, now is the time to start using neuroscience-based tools to optimize players’ performance from the neck up.

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