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Secret Weapon: Neuro Training in the NBA

In our latest YouTube video, Reflexion takes a trip to Denver to chat with one of the NBA’s top performance directors, Felipe Eichenberger. We learned exactly how he is using Reflexion to give his athletes an edge on the court. 

Felipe is the head strength and conditioning coach for the Denver Nuggets. Having been with the Nuggets for the better of 12 seasons, he knows a thing or two about fitness and performance optimization. Implementing a training protocol that sets his athletes up for championship titles is no easy feat, and going that extra mile is just the standard. The Edge serves as an effective “secret weapon” for the Denver Nuggets – one that is changing the game big time. 

Neuro training takes advantage of the body’s natural inclination to adapt while under fatigue. By training the mind in tandem with the body, an athlete is able to make simultaneous strength and mental gains. Felipe describes utilizing the Edge as a way to improve his athlete’s performance in a way that “no one else is doing”.

 

He explains, “We are lifting heavy weights. We are consistently in the weight room. We are doing all those things. What are we missing? And that was the brain.” In the NBA, everybody’s got skill. The question is, how long can you maintain that level of skill, without making mistakes, while you’re under physical and mental stress? That’s where neuro training comes in. Mental clarity, decision-making speed, and awareness under fatigue are crucial assets to a well-played game – and the players are witnessing the benefits firsthand. 

Right now, the Edge gives the Nuggets a unique advantage when it comes to mental training. But Felipe believes that neuro training is the future and that it should be incorporated into NBA teams’ programs at large. “Teams should train the proper way, and I do think using the Edge board is training the proper way… Using Reflexion over the last year has helped us to achieve a lot more than what we have in the past.” 

To see more about how the Nuggets are using the Edge, watch our latest YouTube video.

Flex your MIND and your MUSCLES!

When you think about fitness, images of cardio and weightlifting exercises come to mind, but that’s only half of the picture. At Reflexion, true holistic fitness means training the mind with as much fervor and dedication as the body. That’s how you optimize yourself to achieve your full functioning potential. 

It just so happens that the brain is most primed for an effective workout when the body is under physical stress as well. That’s why in our latest YouTube video, Steven and Tyler break down exactly how the Edge can be incorporated into a workout – even with more than one person.

Neuro training is critically important for razor-sharp mental function. This is especially true for athletes. Sports demand fast, complex, and strategic decision-making, all while being subject to considerable physical stress. Think of a soccer player running down the field, analyzing defensemen, or a winded wide receiver needing to catch the ball. The EDGE can be an invaluable addition to any routine, optimizing the mind for reliable function during these high-stress moments.

Whether you play a sport or not, neuro training provides an outlet for the brain to improve upon its clarity and sharpness during times of elevated fatigue – something that’s hard to replicate in any other training setting. With a wide array of mind-flexing drills and challenges, it’s easy to create a protocol with the EDGE that compliments your physical workout. 

In a cardio context, you can allow your partner to complete the EDGE drills, while you get your heart pumping with workouts like box jumps, jump rope, lunge jumps, or sprints. Once the time is up, switch positions and experience the dizzying challenges of “Minefield” and “Waterfall” – two of the EDGE’s most challenging games. In the weight room? Incorporate the drills “Expanding Out” and “Pursue” for a super set like you’ve never experienced before. 

The long and short of it is: 

The EDGE provides a total training experience that pushes your brain and body to places no regular gym ever has. Check out our latest video to see it in action!

Reflexion Begins Testing MLB Draft Prospects

Reflexion Begins Testing MLB Draft Prospects

On Sunday, June 26th, 2022, the Pittsburgh Pirates were finishing up a 3-game series against the Rays in Tampa Bay. While they were out of town, 3 members of the Reflexion team entered PNC Park to embark on our first official service agreement with the MLB’s Draft Operations Dept. 

It was Pro Day for the MLB Draft League summer collegiate baseball athletes. Each year, MLB sponsors 2 collegiate baseball leagues, consisting of elite college players who have been identified by scouts and are expected to eventually be selected in the MLB Draft.

Testing was performed on roughly 140 athletes in a 7-hour window and everyone hopped on their respective buses to reach their hotel destination where they would play the next day. A glimpse of what life will be like climbing the minor league ranks of whichever club drafts them…

Measurements were recorded on height, weight, wingspan & hand size. A dynamometer was used to assess grip strength in both an outstretched arm at shoulder height and overhead arm positions. VALD force plates measured vertical jump and ground force reaction pressure, then athletes filtered over to Reflexion to complete the indoor testing stations. Outdoor activities were primarily hitting & fielding.

Reflexion got on MLB’s radar after Dr. Dan Laby (sportsvision.nyc) conducted research, correlating Reflexion scores to on-field metrics, such as batting average, swing-strike percentage, on-base percentage, errors, and triples. Data for that study was collected on players who had already been drafted. This pro day event was the first opportunity to expand this talent identification model in pre-draft athletes, in hopes of identifying athletes whose cognitive skills already operate at a major league level.

Most are familiar with the NFL Combine, a multi-day event where prospective draft picks are tested in a battery of physical measurements and on-field drills. This event has occurred annually since 1982 and historical data can show a relationship between size, strength, and speed to elite performance in the NFL for every position on the field.

A “Pro Day” is somewhat of an abbreviated combine, where everything takes place in a single day and the selection of testing is reduced to what is “essential only”.  Test results are then compiled and distributed to all 30 MLB clubs, where data analysts & scouts view the overall physical & cognitive performance of an athlete.

This is only the 2nd year the MLB has started collecting official data in combine and pro day testing, so historical data does not exist yet. Therefore, deciding if an athlete is exceptional, average, or has a deficiency is somewhat of an art form.

In the absence of historical information, the MLB decided to bring in a series of experts in each piece of technology used in the testing. Around 20 independent contractors were on-site to ensure unbiased testing, comprised of former major league and minor league strength coaches, sports medicine specialists, and technology partners.

Going for the Gold With the Valencias and the Reflexion Edge

Finding ways to support outstanding athletic performance can be challenging. At Reflexion, we designed the Edge and the Flex to provide real help in developing the cognitive and perception skills needed by top athletes. The Reflexion team recently had the chance to visit with the Valencia family in Morgan Hill, California to learn how the Edge is helping Nyla and Aden Valencia pursue their athletic goals more effectively.We caught up with Joel Valencia at his home to discuss his approach to parenting and training the two elite athletes in his family. Aden and Nyla both won titles in the U.S.A. Wrestling High School National Showcase in March 2021. This led directly to invitations to serve as warmup partners to competitors who were vying for their own spots in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Nyla is a two-time national champion and a silver medalist at the Pan American Games, while Aden is a U15 world champion in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. Joel serves as one of their trainers and has put the neuro-training capabilities of the Edge to work in helping both young athletes to achieve their full potential.Wrestling requires both physical strength and cognitive skills to reach the highest levels of competition. Joel explained that, along with the strength training and other physical conditioning equipment available to Nyla and Aden, the Reflexion Edge provides the reaction training necessary to respond quickly during wrestling competitions. By using the Edge in the home training setting, both Aden and Nyla can improve their reaction times while enhancing their hand-eye coordination and their cognitive skills. Joel and the Valencia siblings both attribute a portion of their success to their neuro-training regimen with the Reflexion Edge.At Reflexion, we are pleased to contribute to the success of Nyla and Aden Valencia in the wrestling field. We offer advanced neuro-training solutions that include the Edge and the Flex. These systems can help athletes achieve the best performance and are ideally suited for building cognitive strength during the physical training process.To learn more about how Reflexion can make great athletes even better, visit us online or call us at 402-525-3789. You can also reach us at [email protected] to request more information. The Reflexion team is here to help you achieve the best results for all your athletic endeavors.

 

 

Life Long Wellness and Reflexion: A Winning Combination for Athletes and Patients Alike

At Reflexion, we appreciate our customers and the ways in which they use our Flex and Edge products to promote improved cognitive skills. We recently had the opportunity to touch base with the team at Life Long Wellness, a valued client of Reflexion and a leading source for chiropractic, acupuncture, and Reflexion neuro-training services in the Salt Lake City area.Life Long Wellness takes a holistic approach to wellness and physical health. With two of our Flex systems and an Edge system in place for clients, the team at Life Long Wellness can create real synergy by combining acupuncture, massage, chiropractic treatments, and nutritional services with the neuro-training made possible by Reflexion systems. This can allow patients of Life Long Wellness to enjoy the benefits of holistic care in a professional setting.Life Long Wellness incorporates technological solutions like the Flex and Edge systems alongside the ancient and proven techniques of acupuncture, chiropractic and massage therapies. The facility is located just 15 minutes north of Salt Lake City in Kaysville, Utah, and is owned and operated by Dr. Jason Atkinson, a licensed chiropractic physician, and board-certified acupuncturist. Life Long Wellness caters to the extreme sports enthusiast as well as everyday individuals seeking help in maintaining fitness and wellness.Many of the patients at Life Long Wellness are looking for an integrated solution that treats both the mind and the body. The Reflexion systems in place at the facility are used to augment chiropractic and acupuncture treatments to assist in faster healing and to improve the cognitive skills that contribute to physical healing. In particular, the Flex system by Reflexion is used by staff members to assess cognitive skills of new patients. This allows Life Long Wellness to tailor a treatment and fitness plan specifically for each patient they see. By engaging the mind with Flex and Edge, the team at Life Long Wellness can boost the power of the human brain and central nervous system to promote the body’s own ability to heal itself.Reflexion specializes in providing technologically advanced neuro-training equipment that can help health care providers and fitness trainers to engage their clients more fully. To learn more about the Reflexion Edge or Flex systems, contact us today at 402-525-3789. You can also reach us by email at [email protected] or through our website. At Reflexion, we are committed to helping people achieve their highest potential with neuro-training solutions that promote better physical and cognitive health.

A Holistic Approach to Fitness From Reflexion and Mindful Barbell

The Reflexion team recently met with Jonathan Speakman, the owner of Mindful Barbell in Santa Barbara, California. Mindful Barbell is the first facility in Santa Barbara to integrate Reflexion’s neuro-training tools and technology into its training regimen. We were happy to meet with Jon to see how he is implementing the Flex to build mental strength alongside physical strength in the training environment for his clientele.

By taking a holistic approach to all aspects of physical and mental strength, Jon and the Mindful Barbell team can produce outstanding results for older clients. The Reflexion Flex is an easy and engaging way to train cognitive processes and develop hand-eye coordination and decision-making skills. Mindful Barbell uses the Reflexion Flex as part of its overall personal training program for older clients to help them stay physically and mentally healthy.The integration of mind and body into the training process can make a big difference in the results achieved by older adults. The drills included with the Flex system are designed specifically to improve skills necessary for outstanding achievement in the athletic field. Jon uses Reflexion’s neuro-training systems to help clients in the prime of their lives to stop thinking consciously and start reacting, which can allow them to build cognitive strength at the same time they are improving their physical strength. The Flex can help older adults to maintain their cognitive health while staying active and fit.During our visit with Jon, we had the chance to meet with some of his satisfied clients at Mindful Barbell. They reported that one of the greatest advantages of the Flex system is that it is fun to use. This results in much greater engagement and improved experiences for Jon’s clients, which translates directly into increased strength both of mind and of body. For older clients, this can be a valuable tool in improving and preserving their fitness and cognitive skills.

At Reflexion, our goal is to provide the best tools and products for our clients. We serve personal trainers like Jon at Mindful Barbell as well as individuals interested in staying mentally fit at home. To learn more about the Flex and how it can help keep minds sharp and agile during the physical training process, call Reflexion today at 402-525-3789 or email us at [email protected]. We are here to provide practical holistic options for your own training regimen or that of your clients.

ISVA Conference

In mid-February the Reflexion team took a trip out to Orlando for the International Sports Vision Association’s annual conference. Even though we were a stone’s throw away from the big resort parks, it was all business for a company that deals with serious fun and games.

The conference venue was quite lively with different workshops focused on the specific vision training needs for different sports, followed by talks reviewing the vision training and concussion rehabilitation worlds. Leading scientists such as Dr. Greg Appelbaum of UCSD presented on the successes and failures of academic research so far, and how to ensure quality research in the future.


Our booth in the exhibitor hall saw overflowing traffic, with both attendees and fellow exhibitors stopping by to try to set and break records for different drills on the Edge. We had lots of interesting and enlightening conversations with clinicians, trainers, and all sorts of different professionals that visited us.Overall, it was a great time getting to hear from the minds of the leaders in the sports vision industry, meeting old customers face-to-face for the first time, making friends with new customers, and simply making new friends. We’re definitely looking forward to

 

Dr. Dan Laby: Evolving Sports Technologies in Neuro-Training | Importance of Simple Reaction Time

The Value of Improving Your Sports Vision – With Dr. Dan Laby

Dan Laby, M.D. is a professor and ophthalmologist who has dedicated a significant portion of his career to studying how sports vision training can benefit athletes. Dr. Laby was introduced to sports vision due to his background in pediatric ophthalmology because even though kids may have good vision out of their eyes individually, they must learn to use both eyes together to have good depth perception and visual development. Athletes utilize specific visual functions that allow them to perform a coordinated motor action, which has inspired the development of the sports vision specialty – of which Laby is a pioneer.

Dr. Laby explores this innovative field with the classic evidence-based approach to research. He recently worked alongside Greg Applebaum PhD., another expert in the sports vision field, to perform a meta-analysis on the current research in the sports vision specialty and develop a framework for these studies that are evidence-based and peer-reviewed with the goal of establishing reliable results.

The main problems they saw were:

  1. The studies were anecdotal, focusing on one or two cases that cannot be extrapolated to represent a larger population of athletes.
  2. The studies were riddled with bias due to the design lacking controlled variables, such as real vs. placebo treatment.

Athletes are always on the lookout for an advantage, whether that is the best pair of shoes, clothing, or sports equipment. Although there is a potential for credible research to support the claim that training your sports vision can improve athletic performance, the studies must be well-established before claiming this could be beneficial. 

For example, a few years ago Nike released tinted contact lenses that advertised performance improvement, but the company released the commercials before studies were completed. On this occasion, the lack of scientific backing before the product launch caused the whole project to be dissolved, even though there may be a scientific benefit to tinted contacts.

Scientific claims must be supported by evidence-based data that can ideally be extrapolated to a real-world setting, such as the way vision intervention has a connection to on-field performance. When evaluating baseball as an example, an individual’s batting performance can be measured by asking questions like:

  • How frequently does a batter walk?
  • What is their strikeout rate?
  • How frequently does a batter swing at pitches within the strike zone vs out of the strike zone?

These are referred to as plate discipline metrics, and Dr. Laby published a study with several hundred professional baseball players testing their hand-eye coordination, observing a strong relationship between some of those plate discipline metrics and the visual reaction time metrics.

Reflexion’s products are great tools to train athletes by offering portable gamified drills and activities where you can increase the difficulty of a visual or cognitive task which in turn makes the related in-game activity seem easy. There is even a feature of Reflexion Plus that allows athletes to hold themselves at a specific threshold of their peak performance in order to achieve what is known in athletic training as overloading.

All sports have different visual and motor needs required for peak performance, and Reflexion’s products allow for a practical application to superset drills with workouts to gain holistic skill training. Overall, there is the potential for applications in many fields, not just athletics.

Pyramid of Visual Function

At the bottom of the pyramid of basic visual function stands the ability of each eye to see different small size targets, low contrast targets, and targets you only have a quick look at. 

The next level is how well the brain uses both eyes together, which allows us to measure 3D depth perception, which can be of varying importance for different sports. 

The next level is the decision to act or not act based on visual information.

The highest level is coordinating a motor action based on available visual information. 

Throughout our talk with Dr. Laby, he emphasized the importance of synthesizing as much well-rounded information as possible to a situation before making a decision, such as combining the psychology of decision-making with the physiology of visual pathways. 

Neuro-training is what we have established as the roundup of visual and cognitive skills that train different levels of athletic abilities, so it makes sense that utilizing Reflexion at home can provide an at-home fitness and training benefit. 

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, Dr. Laby reflected on the need to tailor the approach to the needs of the specific sport and athlete. Technology like Reflexion allows sports vision specialists to tailor activities to the individual athlete that allows them to improve their individual performance. 

To follow along with Dr. Laby as he continues to leave a mark on the specialty of sports vision, check out his website.

To learn more about how Reflexion can improve your sports vision, check out our website for the most up-to-date information.