The Fluid Mechanics of Athletic Performance: Flow State and its Dynamics

Imagine a state where you feel significantly challenged but also that you are excelling. In the athletic world, peak performance is often a result of mental and physical synergy, where athletes become so engrossed in their activity that they enter a state of complete absorption. This state, known as “flow,” has become a subject of fascination for researchers and enthusiasts alike.

1. The Dynamics of Flow

While many recognize the profound effect of flow on performance, its dynamics have been somewhat elusive. A study by Roberta Antonini Philippe and colleagues qualitatively explored the journey of athletes into, within, and out of flow. They identified three phases:

  • Preparation to Enter Flow: Setting the stage.
  • Entry into the Flow State: Immersion begins.
  • Exit from the Flow State: Gradual detachment


While we will not explore these phases in depth in this post, in this immersive experience emotions serve not just as indicators of an athlete’s state of mind, but also as a driving force that facilitates the transition from one phase to another. The way an athlete feels during preparation can profoundly influence their entry into the flow, and similarly, their emotions as they’re deeply engrossed in the activity will determine the ease with which they exit the flow state.

Flow in the Athletic Realm

Delving further into the realm of sports, the concept of flow finds its roots in everyday life experiences as presented by Csikszentmihalyi. However, it wasn’t long before researchers began to investigate its significance in sports. Defined as the optimal state for sports practice, flow is characterized by Vara et. al in the following nine dimensions:

  • Perceived challenges that stretch existing skills.
  • Action-awareness union.
  • Clear goals.
  • Positive feedback.
  • Concentration on the task at hand.
  • A sense of control.
  • Loss of self-consciousness.
  • Distorted time perception.
  • Autotelic experience (performing an action for its inherent pleasure).


These dimensions provide athletes a comprehensive framework to understand their experiences during peak performances. Interestingly, many elite athletes have mentioned experiencing these attributes during their best performances, underlining the validity of these dimensions in a real-world setting.

Temporal Processing & Flow’s Influence on Perception and Cognition

A pivotal link between flow and enhanced performance capabilities lies in its influence on perception. A study by Sinnett et. al exemplifies this by demonstrating how flow impacts spatiotemporal perception and processing. Participants, which included both athletes and musicians, showed improved performance in temporal order judgment tasks after experiencing flow. This indicates that being in a flow state potentially enhances perceptual abilities of time, providing a cognitive edge during high-level performances.

Taking it a step further, it’s intriguing to relate flow states to inhibition which we touched on in our last post you can read here. It’s plausible that when athletes are in flow, their ability to inhibit distractions becomes more pronounced. This sharpened focus, combined with improved spatial and temporal processing capabilities, could be the very essence of why flow states are so sought after in the athletic domain.


The mysterious phenomenon of flow in athletics, although abstract, is beginning to unveil its intricate dynamics through research. As we understand more about its phases, dimensions, and influence on perception, we can better appreciate its significance in peak athletic performances. As athletes and trainers alike aim to consistently achieve this state, the revelations about flow promise to revolutionize training methodologies and redefine performance benchmarks in sports.

At Reflexion, this is a topic we are actively exploring. Reflexion GO, our personalized VR training product, adapts to your abilities to attempt to keep you in a flow state where you feel challenged but also that you are performing well – balancing the emotions to keep you engaged and in a state where you are pushing yourself. As we continue to build out the product this is a concept into which we will delve much further and will likely write more about on this blog. Tell us about your experience reaching flow state. How did you get there?

Achieving Flow: An Exploratory Investigation of Elite College Athletes and Musicians Roberta Antonini Philippe, et al.

Measuring optimal psychological states: Proposal of two brief versions to measure flow and clutch in athletes Alejandro Sánchez Vara, et al.

Flow States and Associated Changes in Spatial and Temporal Processing Scott Sinnett, et al.

The Power of Not Doing In Sports: A Guide to Reacting and Proacting


Within the vast realm of sports, we often applaud the athletes for their speed, strength, and coordination. However, one overlooked but critical skill that separates good athletes from the elite is their ability to inhibit certain actions. This ability is twofold: Reactive Inhibition and Proactive Inhibition. In the fast-paced world of sports, the mastery of these inhibitory skills can make the difference between winning and losing. Let’s delve into the importance, nuances, and mastery of these vital skills.

Decoding Reactive and Proactive Inhibition

In the heat of a match, split-second decisions matter. An athlete must constantly decide whether to continue with a planned move or hold back. This is where the duality of reactive and proactive inhibition comes into play.

  • Reactive Inhibition: It’s the athlete’s capability to abruptly stop an ongoing motor action when new information suggests it’s no longer beneficial. Imagine a soccer player about to take a shot, but at the last moment, they see a teammate in a better position and hold back.

  • Proactive Inhibition: This is the ability to prevent starting an action altogether based on the anticipation of future outcomes. In tennis, this would be a player deciding not to rush the net because they anticipate a lob from their opponent.

Both skills are the result of a lifetime of training, experience, and trained cognitive ability to process information quickly and effectively.

The Significance of Inhibition in Sports

Why is inhibition so vital? Let’s decode its significance:

  • Game Strategy and Dynamics: In team sports, the dynamics change rapidly. Players must be attuned to teammates’ positions, the opponent’s strategy, and potential game-changers. A player’s ability to reactively or proactively inhibit actions can significantly influence the match outcome.

  • Energy Conservation: Unnecessary movements or actions can waste precious energy. By mastering inhibition, athletes can optimize their energy usage, ensuring they’re at peak performance throughout the game.

  • Minimizing Errors: Sports are often games of margins. A wrong move can lead to an opponent’s advantage. Through proactive inhibition, players can minimize the risk of errors.

  • Enhancing Teamwork: Especially in team sports, an individual’s action can impact the entire squad. By understanding when to act and when to inhibit, athletes can seamlessly integrate into team strategies.

Training the Mind for Mastery

It’s incredibly important to highlight that like many other cognitive skills, reactive and proactive inhibition can be trained with careful effort. So, how does one improve these inhibitory skills? Let’s explore:

  • High-Intensity Training: Simulate real-game scenarios during training. The more athletes practice in conditions mirroring actual matches, the better they get at making split-second inhibition decisions.

  • Cognitive Drills: In the world of sports, while physical prowess often takes center stage, it’s the nuanced interplay of mental agility and bodily skills that often defines the true champions. Enter cognitive drills—targeted exercises designed specifically to challenge the brain, enhancing its ability to adapt, anticipate, and react. Let’s dive deeper into the importance and mechanics of these drills:

    Switching Play Tactics Abruptly: One of the foundational principles of cognitive drills lies in their unpredictability. Imagine a soccer team practicing a certain formation and suddenly, without prior warning, they’re instructed to switch to a completely different setup. Or a basketball player preparing for a specific play, only to have it changed at the last moment. These abrupt changes force the athlete’s brain to quickly recalibrate and adapt, simulating the ever-changing dynamics of a real game. Over time, this trains the athlete’s reactive inhibition, allowing them to swiftly halt an initiated action and pivot as the situation demands.

    Utilizing Visual Cues: Another effective method involves using visual cues to dictate or modify an athlete’s actions. For instance, consider a tennis drill where the coach uses balls of different colors, with each shade indicating a specific type of shot. Players must constantly be alert and ready to adjust their technique based on the color of the incoming ball. This not only sharpens their reaction times but also strengthens their ability to inhibit pre-planned actions in favor of new directives based on the visual cues presented.

    The beauty of cognitive drills is that they directly tap into an athlete’s neural pathways, reshaping and refining them for optimal performance. While the physical act of playing remains paramount, it’s these moments of mental challenge and adaptation that often determine success in the split-second decisions of competitive sports. By integrating cognitive drills into training routines, athletes equip themselves with a mental edge, ensuring they’re as agile in their thought processes as they are in their physical maneuvers.

  • Game Analysis: Regularly analyze past games, focusing on decisions made in crucial moments. Recognizing past errors can reinforce proactive inhibition for future matches.

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Enhancing focus through meditation can refine an athlete’s ability to anticipate and respond, honing both reactive and proactive inhibition.

Stories of Inhibition in Action

The world of sports offers compelling examples of how exceptional inhibition can lead to unparalleled success. Let’s dive into the stories of three superstars whose mastery in this domain has made them legends in their respective sports.

  • The Swift Decider: Lionel Messi
    Story: Lionel Messi, renowned for his dribbling skills, is not just about agility and speed. His decision-making, especially when to charge forward or hold back, makes him stand out.

    Inhibition’s Role: Messi frequently uses reactive inhibition to alter his dribbling path based on defenders’ positions. His proactive inhibition is evident when he decides not to take a direct free-kick, anticipating the wall jump.


  • The Calculated Racer: Lewis Hamilton
    Story: In the world of Formula 1, where every millisecond counts, Lewis Hamilton’s decisions on when to overtake or hold position have won him numerous races.

    Inhibition’s Role: Hamilton’s proactive inhibition is evident when he chooses not to overtake in tight corners, predicting potential collisions. Meanwhile, his reactive inhibition shines when he quickly pulls out of an overtaking maneuver seeing a sudden change in another driver’s trajectory.


  • The Tennis Maven: Serena Williams
    Story: Serena’s game is more than just forceful serves and groundstrokes. It’s also about deciding when to unleash a crafty drop shot or when to patiently build from the baseline.

    Inhibition’s Role: Serena’s proactive inhibition shines when she holds back from charging the net, predicting a speedy passing shot from her opponent. On the other hand, her reactive inhibition is evident when she tweaks her shot at the last second, based on her rival’s sudden move or position change.


In sports, the narrative often revolves around the action – the goals, the overtakes, the slam dunks. Yet, it’s the unseen decisions, the inhibited actions, that often play an equally critical role in the tale of victory or defeat.

Inhibition in sports isn’t just about physical prowess but is deeply intertwined with cognitive agility. Athletes, trainers, and enthusiasts, therefore, should not just focus on refining what to do but also master the art of deciding what not to do. Dive deep into training both aspects, and witness how the dance between action and inhibition elevates the game to new pinnacles.

Unlocking the Power of Eye-Hand Coordination: A Guide to Mastery


In the myriad of complex human abilities, one often slips under the radar despite its profound impact on our daily tasks: eye-hand coordination. At its core, eye-hand coordination refers to the synchronized control of our ocular and manual movements, allowing us to perform tasks as simple as picking up a pen to as intricate as playing a musical instrument or performing surgery. Although many might not give it a second thought, it’s this very synchronization that makes so many facets of our lives seamless and efficient.

Every time we tie a shoelace, sketch a drawing, or catch a flying ball, we’re relying on this intricate dance between our vision and our hand movements. Yet, for all its ubiquity, the potential to harness and enhance this coordination often remains underestimated. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into understanding, appreciating, and mastering eye-hand coordination, showcasing its pivotal role in both common tasks and outstanding feats.

Grasping Eye-Hand Coordination

Imagine standing on a serene beach, toes sinking into the warm sand, as you watch a child chase a kite. The child’s eyes follow the kite intently, while their hands and arms move in perfect synchronization, tugging the string, making the kite dip and soar. This visual, though simple and everyday, exemplifies the intricate dance of eye-hand coordination in action. But what exactly is happening behind the scenes in such instances? Let’s dive in.

  1. Definition and Importance: Eye-hand coordination is the synchronized control and processing of visual input (what we see) and hand movement to execute a task. It’s not just about how quickly we react to what we see but how accurately our hands respond to that visual stimulus. This synchronization is crucial in tasks that range from the mundane, like buttoning a shirt, to the complex, like playing a fast-paced video game or driving a car in heavy traffic.
  2. The Brain’s Role: The brain is the maestro of this complex symphony. When our eyes perceive an object or movement, the visual cortex in the brain processes this information. Simultaneously, other parts of the brain related to motor skills, like the cerebellum and the basal ganglia, start preparing our hands for action. This intricate neural network allows our hands to respond accurately to the visual cues.
  3. Developmental Perspective: Eye-hand coordination begins to develop early in life. Babies start by simply staring at their own fingers, gradually progressing to reaching out for objects. By toddlerhood, they can grasp objects, stack blocks, and scribble – all significant milestones in eye-hand coordination. Throughout childhood and into adulthood, these skills continue to refine and can be honed further with specific training.
  4. Factors Influencing Coordination: Several factors can influence one’s eye-hand coordination:
    • Genetics: Some people are naturally predisposed to better coordination due to genetic factors.
    • Practice: Repetitive activities, especially in sports or arts, can significantly enhance coordination over time. More on this below.
    • Age: While coordination tends to peak in young adulthood, it can wane with age unless actively maintained.Health Conditions: Certain medical conditions or injuries can impact coordination, but with rehabilitation, improvements can often be achieved.

In essence, eye-hand coordination is a testament to the body’s remarkable ability to integrate visual and motor functions seamlessly. While we often take it for granted, understanding and harnessing this capability can lead to enhanced performance in numerous fields, from athletics to arts and beyond.

Importance of Eye-Hand Coordination

Eye-hand coordination, sometimes termed hand-eye coordination, is one of those background skills we often don’t consider until faced with a task that challenges it. However, its impact and importance touch almost every facet of our lives. From the time we are infants reaching out to grasp a parent’s finger to older adults navigating daily tasks, this skill underpins our interactions with the world around us. Let’s shed some light on why eye-hand coordination is so pivotal.

  1. Daily Living Activities: At the most basic level, we rely on eye-hand coordination for everyday tasks:
    • Eating: Using utensils to carry food to our mouths.
    • Dressing: Buttoning a shirt, tying shoelaces, or zipping up a jacket.
    • Driving: Adjusting the steering wheel based on traffic and obstacles.

  1. Enhancing Athletic Performance: In the world of sports, having exceptional eye-hand coordination can differentiate the average from the elite.
    • Ball Sports: Whether it’s catching a baseball, shooting a basketball, or returning a tennis serve, the ability to coordinate vision with hand movements is paramount.
    • Martial Arts: Precision, speed, and accuracy in response to an opponent’s moves hinge on this coordination.

  1. Artistic and Musical Endeavors: Art and music are realms where the synchronization of sight and hand movement takes center stage.
    • Painting and Drawing: Artists rely on their ability to translate a vision or perception onto a canvas or paper with their hands.
    • Playing Musical Instruments: Musicians read sheet music and instantly translate those notes into finger movements on their instruments.

  1. Occupational Significance: Many professions necessitate a keen sense of eye-hand coordination:
    • Surgeons: Precise surgical movements, especially in minimally invasive procedures.
    • Pilots: Navigating aircraft based on visual cues and instrument readings.
    • Craftspersons: From jewelry design to woodwork, the intricacy demands flawless coordination.

  1. Cognitive and Developmental Benefits: Beyond physical tasks, eye-hand coordination plays a role in cognitive and developmental processes:
    • Learning: Children use this skill when writing or when using tools, aiding in their academic growth.
    • Problem-Solving: Activities like puzzles or video games that challenge eye-hand coordination also stimulate problem-solving skills.

  1. Rehabilitation and Recovery: For individuals recovering from certain illnesses or injuries, improving eye-hand coordination can be a key component of therapy, aiding in regaining independence and quality of life.

Pathways to Improvement

Developing and honing eye-hand coordination is a continuous journey. While we naturally develop this skill as children, it can be further refined and even regained if diminished. Several pathways offer both fun and practical approaches to improvement. Let’s dive into these pathways and understand their contributions.

  1. Engaging in Skill-Based Sports:
    • Benefits of Table Tennis, Basketball, Juggling, etc.:
      • Speed and Reflexes: Sports like table tennis demand rapid responses, enhancing quick decision-making and action.
      • Motor Skills: Juggling, for instance, boosts the precision of hand movements in relation to visual stimuli.
      • Spatial Awareness: Basketball players frequently assess distances and adjust their movements and throws accordingly.

  1. Gaming:
    • How Certain Video Games Can Enhance Coordination:
      • First-Person Shooters: These games require players to aim accurately and react swiftly to visual cues.
      • Rhythm Games: Hitting the notes or beats at the correct time improves timing and precision.
      • Simulation Games: Piloting vehicles or coordinating multiple tasks simultaneously hones multitasking coordination.
    • The Importance of Moderation:
      • Balance: While gaming can be beneficial, overdoing it can lead to sedentary lifestyles and potential vision issues.
      • Variety: Incorporate various genres of games to target different aspects of coordination.

  1. Using Fitness Apps & Tools:
    • Introduction to Apps/Tools Designed for Coordination:
      • Virtual Reality: VR products can provide an immersive and safe environment to practice eye-hand coordination with specialized drills optimized to do so. Click here to learn more about how Reflexion’s VR training product Reflexion GO can provide personalized eye-hand coordination training for you.
      • Balance Apps: Many apps challenge users to maintain balance while following visual cues, aiding in synchronization of body movements.
      • Agility Drills: Apps that guide users through agility training can enhance both coordination and reflexes.

  1. Meditation with Movement:
    • Benefits
      • Unified Flow: Movement-based meditations emphasize a fluid connection between thought and action. This synchronization, paired with deliberate breathing, fosters improved coordination among breath, vision, and motion.
      • Heightened Awareness: Engaging in movement meditation heightens one’s spatial awareness, making us more conscious of our body’s positioning. This attuned awareness can translate into better coordination between what we see and how we react.
      • Balance and Grace: The gentle and deliberate movements in these meditative practices refine balance and posture – both integral to efficient eye-hand coordination.
      • Sharpened Focus through Calm: The inherent tranquility of meditative practices clears the mind of distractions. With reduced stress and sharper focus, our eye-hand coordination naturally sees enhancement.
      • When meditation and movement become intertwined, the bond between our inner self and our external actions deepens. This combined approach is an excellent pathway for anyone seeking to refine their coordination and move through life with greater precision and grace.

  1. Staying Active and Alert:
    • Role of General Physical Fitness in Coordination:
      • Flexibility: Regular stretching and flexibility exercises can enhance the range and precision of movements.
      • Strength: A solid core and strong muscles support better posture and movement accuracy.
      • Cardiovascular Health: A healthy heart ensures that all parts of the body receive oxygen efficiently, crucial for coordination.

  1. Consistent Practice:
    • Emphasis on Repetition and Regularity:
      • Muscle Memory: Repeatedly practicing a particular task embeds the required movements into our muscle memory.
      • Overcoming Plateaus: With consistent practice, even when progress seems slow, breakthroughs become possible.
      • Evolving Challenges: Regularity in practice should be paired with escalating challenges to ensure continual growth.

Athletics Success Stories in Eye-Hand Coordination

The world of sports offers compelling examples of how exceptional eye-hand coordination can lead to unparalleled success. Let’s dive into the stories of three superstars whose mastery in this domain has made them legends in their respective sports.

  • The Sharpshooter: Steph Curry
    • Story: Stephen Curry, often hailed as the best shooter in NBA history, wasn’t always the towering figure he is today. Overlooked by major colleges and doubted by many because of his size, Curry’s extraordinary eye-hand coordination transformed his game.
    • Eye-Hand Coordination’s Role: Whether it’s shooting from beyond the arc or navigating through a defense, Curry’s ability to see, process, and act with his hands, often releasing the ball within milliseconds, is unparalleled. This skill, combined with his rigorous training and relentless work ethic, has made him a two-time MVP and multiple-time NBA champion.
  • The Ice Maestro: Sidney Crosby
    • Story: Sidney Crosby, captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is considered one of the greatest hockey players of his generation. From a young age, he showcased a knack for understanding the game and controlling the puck.
    • Eye-Hand Coordination’s Role: On the ice, Crosby’s exceptional eye-hand coordination allows him to control the puck, dodge defenders, and score with precision. His skill in deflecting pucks mid-air into the net or executing perfect passes demonstrates the vital role of coordination in his success.
  • The Gravity-Defier: Simone Biles
    • Story: Simone Biles, with her collection of Olympic gold medals, stands as the most decorated gymnast of all time. Her routines are a blend of power, grace, and intricate maneuvers that leave spectators in awe.
    • Eye-Hand Coordination’s Role: In gymnastics, where a split-second mistake can lead to severe injuries, Biles’ flawless coordination stands out. Whether she’s on the balance beam, the floor, or vaulting, her ability to synchronize her sight with intricate hand placements and body movements results in performances that are nothing short of art.


In today’s fast-paced world, the art of synchronization between our eyes and hands plays an indispensable role, stretching beyond just the realms of sports. As we’ve seen from the captivating journeys of elite athletes like Steph Curry, Sidney Crosby, and Simone Biles, the mastery of eye-hand coordination can lead to groundbreaking achievements. This synchronization is a testament to the untapped potential within us, awaiting its due diligence of nurturing and refinement.

Whether you’re aiming for professional greatness or simply wish to enhance daily functions, the journey to improve your eye-hand coordination is a worthy pursuit. Its benefits permeate numerous aspects of life, from executing tasks with precision to enjoying leisure activities with increased proficiency.

But don’t just admire from the sidelines. Dive in, and embark on your own journey of improvement. We invite you to explore specialized training programs and a wealth of resources dedicated to sharpening not just eye-hand coordination but all the cognitive skills that matter for you.  Everyone is unique. Reflexion’s approach to training relies on personalizing the practice you perform based on your life goals and current abilities. To see what cognitive skills matter most for you, click the link below.

Enhancing Soccer Performance: Onfield Neuro Training Guide


In the fast-paced and competitive world of soccer, physical fitness and technical skills are undoubtedly crucial. However, one element of performance that sets extraordinary players apart from the rest lies within their minds. Neuro skills, such as reaction time, eye-hand coordination, inhibition, mental flexibility, and anticipation, play a pivotal role in shaping a player’s success on the field. Soccer requires split-second decision-making, adaptability, and the ability to anticipate opponents’ moves to excel in various positions.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve deep into the realm of neuro skills in soccer and explore no-cost ways to train those skills that can elevate soccer players’ performance to new heights. As we journey through each cognition, we will discover their significance, examples of how they influence soccer performance, and how you can work to refine these essential skills to improve your own on field performance. Let’s uncover the untapped potential of neuro training in soccer and its impact on elevating player performance.

The Key Cognitions in Soccer

Reaction Time

In the fast-paced world of soccer, reaction time is a game-changer. It refers to how quickly a player can respond to external stimuli, such as oncoming passes, opponents’ movements, or sudden changes in the game. For positions like midfielders and strikers, where quick reflexes are essential, reaction time can be the difference between success and missed opportunities. Lightning-fast reaction time can help seize goal-scoring opportunities, catching defenders off-guard. Similarly, a midfielder who can quickly react to an opponent’s movements gains a competitive edge, intercepting passes and initiating counter-attacks. 

Drill: Shadow Cones

  1. Set up cones: Find an open space and scatter cones or markers in a random arrangement. There is no specific pattern; the randomness is intentional to replicate the unpredictable nature of soccer.
  2. Partner up: Work with a teammate or training partner who will call out commands during the drill.
  3. Begin the drill: Stand facing the cones with your partner next to you. On your partner’s signal, move as quickly as possible to touch a designated cone. Your partner can call out different cone numbers or colors, requiring you to change direction and respond promptly.
  4. Add variations: As you become more comfortable with the drill, add variations to make it more challenging. For example, have your partner call out two or more cone numbers at once, requiring you to touch each one in rapid succession. You can also try the drill with backward movements or lateral shuffles.
  5. Stay focused and agile: Keep your eyes on your partner and the cones, staying alert for the next command. Focus on quick and precise movements to touch the designated cones efficiently.


Eye-Foot Coordination

Soccer players in all positions rely heavily on eye-foot coordination. This neuro skill allows players to control the ball with finesse, execute accurate passes, and deliver shots with pinpoint precision. Through focused and repetitive practice, players can elevate their ball control, passing accuracy, and overall performance on the field.

Mastering eye-foot coordination is particularly crucial for positions like midfielders, who are often at the center of ball distribution and playmaking. A midfielder with exceptional eye-foot coordination can effortlessly control the ball while scanning the field for passing opportunities. Likewise, a forward’s ability to receive and control the ball with precision can lead to more successful shots on goal. 

Drill: Juggling

  1. Find an open space: Head to a park, backyard, or any area with enough room to juggle the ball freely without any obstacles.
  2. Start with your dominant foot: Begin by gently dropping the soccer ball from your dominant foot and try to kick it back up into the air with the same foot. Focus on maintaining a steady rhythm.
  3. Incorporate your non-dominant foot: Once you feel comfortable juggling with your dominant foot, challenge yourself to use your non-dominant foot as well. This will improve your coordination and balance on both sides.
  4. Keep your eyes on the ball: Maintaining constant eye contact with the ball is crucial for enhancing eye-foot coordination. This helps you anticipate the ball’s movement and make better contact with your feet.
  5. Increase the consecutive touches: Gradually work on increasing the number of consecutive touches you can make before the ball drops to the ground. Set achievable goals and challenge yourself to beat your personal best.



In high-pressure situations on the soccer field, staying focused and blocking out distractions is crucial. Inhibition, as a neuro skill, enables players to maintain their composure, make quick decisions, and filter out irrelevant information.

For defenders, maintaining strong inhibition skills is essential, especially during critical moments when they need to mark opponents tightly and avoid getting drawn out of position. Similarly, goalkeepers with heightened inhibition can remain calm during penalty kicks, enabling them to anticipate the direction of shots and make crucial saves. 

Drill: Noise and Distraction Drill

  1. Find a quiet space: Begin by choosing a quiet area to practice, such as an open field or a room without any background noise.
  2. Introduce distractions: To simulate external distractions, players can use various noise sources, such as playing music or having a teammate or friend create random sounds.
  3. Stay focused on the task: While the distractions are ongoing, challenge yourself to maintain your focus on the ball or a specific target. Block out the noise and concentrate solely on the task at hand.
  4. Engage in ball control exercises: Perform various ball control exercises, such as dribbling through cones, juggling the ball, or passing against a wall. The key is to execute these drills with precision and accuracy despite the distractions.
  5. Gradually increase the difficulty: As you become more adept at blocking out the distractions, progressively increase the intensity of the noise sources. This will test your ability to maintain composure and focus under mounting pressure.
  6. Reflect and adjust: After completing the Noise and Distraction Challenge, take a moment to reflect on your performance. Assess how well you managed to stay focused and composed amid the distractions. Identify areas for improvement and make adjustments accordingly.


Mental Flexibility

For versatile soccer players, like midfielders and defenders, mental flexibility is paramount. This neuro skill empowers players to adjust their strategies on the fly, read the game effectively, and seamlessly transition between offensive and defensive roles. 

Midfielders, often tasked with dictating the game’s tempo, need exceptional mental flexibility to switch from defensive cover to orchestrating attacking moves seamlessly. Defenders must anticipate their opponents’ next moves and swiftly adapt their positioning to neutralize threats effectively. 

Drill: Position Switch Challenge

  1. Set up a practice area: Find a suitable area on the field or create a designated space with markers to serve as the training ground.
  2. Assign offensive and defensive roles: Divide players into two groups – one group will take on offensive roles (e.g., forwards or attacking midfielders), and the other will assume defensive roles (e.g., defenders or defensive midfielders).
  3. Rapidly switch positions: Start the drill with players in their designated positions. At the coach’s or a teammate’s signal, players must quickly switch roles. For example, offensive players will become defenders, and vice versa.
  4. Stay alert and adapt: As the drill progresses, the coach or a teammate can call out scenarios or movements that require players to adjust their positions. For instance, players may need to transition from attacking to defending in response to a counterattack or vice versa.
  5. Execute game scenarios: Incorporate game-like situations, such as passing sequences or one-on-one challenges, that prompt players to rapidly switch between offensive and defensive roles based on the ball’s location and game dynamics.
  6. Reflect and learn: After the drill, gather feedback from players about their experience. Discuss the challenges they faced in transitioning between roles and identify areas for improvement.



Anticipation is the sixth sense of elite soccer players. It allows them to predict their opponents’ moves, anticipate the trajectory of passes, and position themselves optimally on the field. Enhanced anticipation leads to quicker reactions, improved positioning, and the ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

A goalkeeper with exceptional anticipation can anticipate the direction of a penalty kick, giving them a greater chance of making a crucial save. Forwards with heightened anticipation can exploit defensive vulnerabilities and create goal-scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

Drill: Passing Lane Intercept

  1. Set up a grid: Create a rectangular playing area with cones to serve as the practice grid. The size can vary based on the number of players participating.
  2. Divide into teams: Split players into two teams, with one team acting as the offensive team and the other as the defensive team.
  3. Form passing lanes: The offensive team stands in a line, spaced evenly along one side of the grid. The defensive team forms a line on the opposite side, facing their offensive counterparts.
  4. Anticipate and intercept: The objective of the drill is for defensive players to anticipate passes from the offensive players and intercept the ball. The offensive team attempts to pass the ball across the grid to their teammates, while the defensive team focuses on reading the passes and moving to cut off the passing lanes.
  5. Intercept and switch roles: Defensive players aim to intercept as many passes as possible. Whenever a defensive player successfully intercepts a pass, they switch roles with the offensive player who attempted the pass.
  6. Vary the intensity: The drill can be performed at different speeds, with both offensive and defensive teams encouraged to challenge each other. Increase the pace of passes to challenge defenders’ anticipation skills further.
  7. Encourage communication: Communication among defensive players is essential to ensure they coordinate their movements and cover passing lanes effectively.
  8. Rotate positions: After a set period, rotate the teams so that players have the opportunity to practice both offensive passing and defensive anticipation.



As soccer continues to evolve, the value of neuro training in player development becomes increasingly evident. Reflexion’s personalized neuro training technology offers a groundbreaking approach to hone the key cognitions that matter in soccer. From reaction time to anticipation, every facet of a player’s neuro skills can be improved with Reflexion’s personalized training programs. To learn more about exactly which neuro skills matter most for you, head over to our free training personalizer.

For more free training resources, check our our Free Training Resources Youtube Playlist.


Unlocking Cognitive Performance: How NBA Players and Teams Utilize Neuro Training Tools


Neuro training has become an integral part of enhancing cognitive performance among certain NBA players and teams. As the game becomes more competitive, athletes are seeking innovative methods to gain an edge on the court. In this blog post, we will explore how renowned players such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Gordon Hayward utilize specific neuro training tools that focus on distinct and unique aspects of mental performance to elevate their skills. We will then contrast these various approaches to the 2023 NBA Champions, the Denver Nuggets’ team-wide implementation of Reflexion neuro training, ensuring peak cognitive performance and championship success.


  1. LeBron James and Calm Meditation App: LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, harnesses the power of mindfulness through the Calm meditation app. Recognizing the importance of mental well-being, LeBron uses Calm to cultivate a focused and resilient mindset. By practicing meditation and embracing the calming techniques offered by the app, he finds clarity amidst pressure and strengthens his ability to perform during crucial moments on the court. This form of neuro training focuses on the psychological state of the player in order to optimize performance. 
  2. Gordon Hayward and VR: Gordon Hayward, an experienced player who has faced injury challenges in 2018, turned to a VR simulation product for rehabilitation and mental conditioning. Through virtual reality technology, Hayward immersed himself in realistic basketball scenarios, allowing him to visualize his actions and interactions with teammates on the court. This not only aided in physical recovery but also kept his mental state sharp and connected to the game, preventing his basketball IQ from fading during rehab. Hayward’s use of neuro training focused on situational training that emulated the scenarios he would see on the court.
  3. Stephen Curry and Strobe Glasses: Stephen Curry, known for his incredible shooting skills, incorporates strobe glasses into his training routine. These glasses disrupt vision by intermittently blocking the wearer’s sight in all or part of the field of view. By challenging his visual processing and reaction time, Curry’s brain adapts to make quicker decisions with limited visual input. This neuro training tool helps him elevate his performance by training his brain to process information more efficiently even when his vision is momentarily impaired.
  4. Denver Nuggets and Reflexion: The 2023 NBA Champion Denver Nuggets implemented team-wide neuro training in 2022. Led by their strength and conditioning coach, Felipe Eichenberger, the Nuggets prioritize neuro training using alongside physical conditioning in the weight room. Reflexion enables the team to train their brains to be sharper, more focused, and make split-second decisions during high-pressure game situations. This is accomplished by training reaction time, inhibition, prioritization, eye-hand coordination, and tracking with specific drills that improve those skills using Reflexion’s lightboard product, the Edge.

    Eichenberger emphasizes the importance of neuro training “the goal is to decrease the amount of turnovers that they have [and] to know where they have to be when they’re tired.” The Nuggets pair high-intensity exercises, such as sprints and on-court drills, with drills on the Edge to simulate the mental demands of the game just like switching from offense to defense.

    The Nuggets use Reflexion for neuro priming before each game.  They are able to select and customize drills that apply most to each player’s cognitive demands in order to get them in the zone before heading to the court. This holistic approach ensures that every player on the team reaches their peak cognitive performance, reducing turnovers, improving decision-making, and increasing overall team efficiency.




Neuro training has become a vital component of the NBA, empowering players to enhance their cognitive abilities and improve on-court performance. From LeBron James utilizing the Calm meditation app for mental clarity to Stephen Curry incorporating strobe glasses to sharpen his decision-making, and Gordon Hayward using virtual reality for rehabilitation and mental conditioning, these players exemplify the significance of cognitive training tools.

Moreover, the Denver Nuggets’ team-wide adoption of the neuro training with Reflexion showcases the team’s commitment to maximizing cognitive performance. By training their brains alongside physical conditioning, the Nuggets have elevated their gameplay, one of many factors leading to their stunning championship victory. As neuro training continues to revolutionize the NBA, we can expect more teams and players to embrace these innovative tools to gain a competitive edge and achieve greater success on the court.

To learn more about other types of neuro training, check out our blog post: The Different Forms of Neuro Training

Click here to watch our interview with Denver Nuggets Performance Director, Felipe Eichenberger.

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Pilot Research Study: Improving Brain Health with Reflexion and Perth Integrated Health

As we age, our cognitive abilities, coordination, and brain function begin to decline. However, research has shown that cognitive training can help improve brain health, especially for individuals aged 50 to 65 years old. Perth Integrated Health has partnered with Reflexion to conduct a pilot research study aimed at establishing normative data for individuals within this age range, in relation to reaction time, peripheral vision, and object differentiation.

The study aims to investigate how ageing affects cognitive abilities and brain functionality. By participating in this research, individuals within the specified age range can make a significant contribution to improving brain health. This non-invasive research will take only 30 minutes of participants time and will involve using Reflexion as an assessment tool. Participants need to be living in Metropolitan Perth and have no known cognitive or neurological conditions.

The research testing for volunteers will take place from 8th May 2023 to 8th July 2023 at Perth Integrated Health’s Applecross or Balcatta clinics. Participants will automatically be entered into a draw to win a weekend stay for two people at the Hilton Doubletree at Elizabeth Quay.

To participate in the research study, or for more information, please contact lead researchers Jyn or Emma on their following contacts: Jyn at [email protected] or (08) 6245 0637, and Emma at [email protected] or (08) 6187 3693. Alternatively, you can email Research Advisor Ian Wee via [email protected].

At Reflexion, we believe that cognitive training is essential to maintaining and improving brain health. We are proud to partner with Perth Integrated Health to conduct this research study aimed at improving brain health for individuals aged 50 to 65 years old. We hope that this research will shed light on the effects of ageing on cognitive abilities and will pave the way for future research and advancements in the field of brain health.

For those interested in participating, testing will be held at Perth Integrated Health’s Applecross or Balcatta clinics. There is no need to prepare for the test, just arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled timing, and instructions will be given on the day of testing. The study involves doing a total of 3 tests on our touchscreen instrumentation tool, the “Edge”, that target reaction time, peripheral vision, and object differentiation.

We believe that this research will make a significant contribution to the field of brain health and we are excited to see the results of the study. Thank you for your interest in improving brain health with Reflexion and Perth Integrated Health.

Best regards,
Matt Campagna
Founder & CEO

Follow Perth Integrated Health on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perthintegrated

VR-Based Sports Training: Improving Athletic Performance with Reflexion GO and More

Welcome to the latest edition of the Reflexion monthly newsletter. This month, we’re taking a closer look at the world of VR-based sports training products and how VR technology can benefit athletes.

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has come a long way in recent years, and it’s now being used in a wide range of applications, including sports training. There are a variety of VR-based sports training products on the market that are designed to train specific sports skills, such as throwing or hitting a ball. The advantage of which is that it can provide a realistic and immersive training experience that simulates real-game scenarios. This type of training can help athletes develop better anticipation, reaction time, decision-making skills, and spatial awareness. Additionally, VR training can help athletes overcome psychological barriers that may prevent them from performing at their best. For example, VR simulations can be used to simulate high-pressure situations, such as a penalty kick in soccer or a crucial free throw in basketball, allowing athletes to practice in a safe and controlled environment.

One shortcoming of these technologies, however, is that while simulating game-like scenarios, the technologies fall short by being “not real enough.”  For example, it is challenging to see the seams on a baseball or truly raise the stakes of a critical moment to that of a real competition. For this reason, products like Reflexion GO that train more foundational cognitive skills that underpin athletic performance are a highly viable alternative.

Research has shown that cognitive training can improve sports performance by enhancing the perceptual-cognitive processes that are critical for success in sports. For example, a study by McRobert et al. found that manipulating context-specific information improved perceptual-cognitive processes during a simulated anticipation task, which could have important implications for sports training [1].

At Reflexion, we believe that cognitive training is an essential part of any athlete’s training regimen. That’s why we’ve developed Reflexion GO, a portable cognitive training system that can be used anywhere, anytime. With Reflexion GO, athletes can train their cognitive skills including tracking, eye-hand coordination, inhibition, prioritization, and reaction time and improve their sports performance, all while having fun.

We hope you found this month’s newsletter informative. If you have any questions or would like more information about Reflexion GO, please check out https://reflexion.co/go.


Best regards,
Matt Campagna
Founder & CEO


1. McRobert AP, Ward P, Eccles DW, Williams AM. The effect of manipulating context-specific information on perceptual-cognitive processes during a simulated anticipation task. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(13):1427-1436. doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.610347

State of the Union: Attending ISVA 2023

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For February’s newsletter, we wanted to focus on one of the sports vision industry’s top gatherings, the International Sports Vision Association (ISVA) conference. After 4 days in Dallas earlier this month, there’s much to report.

ISVA is truly a multi-disciplinary event, with attendees having backgrounds in optometry, concussion management, or sports & coaching. In particular, optometry has always played an important role in sports vision training.

History of Sport Vision Training

The original sports vision trainers were optometrists, or ODs, with backgrounds in vision therapy. With extensive education around the eyes and brain, along with the knowledge of how to correct visual issues, optometrists were distinctly situated to lead the development of sports neuro training.

Reflexion’s ancestor, the Wayne Saccadic Fixator, was the first ever commercialized reaction-light board and developed by optometrist Harry Wayne in the 80s and 90s.

A Paradigm in Background

We’ve been attending this conference since 2018, and even in that short time period, we’ve seen the crowd change from primarily ODs to a much more even mix of backgrounds and experiences.

We see this as part of the broader trend happening in sport, as the brain gathers more attention for the role it plays in performance.

Dr. Alex Andrich, former president and executive board member of ISVA, has noticed too. “The education was exciting this year. Talks were balanced with research and multidisciplinary approaches. This gave a different perspective.”

Let’s briefly look at two of the sessions.

“Injury to Recovery to Elite Performance” by Dr. Deanne Fitzgerald and Nicole Morris.

The takeaway of this talk is summarized by one point: 20/20 vision is not enough for an athlete.

Dr. Fitzgerald and Morris spoke of the need to assess and train athletes with specific drills in order to improve their visual judgment. They outlined a three-phase approach to sports vision training, beginning with reconditioning and vision therapy, followed by speed and accuracy drills, and finally sport-specific skills and drills.

This presentation also included hands-on training with Reflexion, Senaptec, and Fitlight.

“Optometric Management of Concussion in Athletes” by Kristine Dalton

There are various drills used for concussion rehabilitation, but quite a few factors that can influence the recovery process. It is worth noting that no single test can diagnose a concussion and unsurprisingly, a comprehensive evaluation is necessary.

The discussion highlighted the importance of rest, symptom scoring sheets, light therapy, sleep hygiene, diet, and other therapies in the recovery process.

The Takeaway

ISVA was a valuable conference to connect with others in the industry and learn the latest science on sports vision training

The ISVA board member gave me his aspiration for the next conference. “Our goal for next year is to make it even more hands on,” Dr. Andrich said. “[We want to provide] more time to go through technologies so attendees learn it practically.”

If you’re interested in exploring the sports vision, ISVA is a conference we highly recommend! We hope to see you there next year.

Til’ next time

Matt Roda

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Gamification in Neuro Training

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Is Reflexion just a video game? It’s a question worth exploring, and the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. 

The short answer is we gamify cognitive training exercises.

“No way you can beat my score.”

In athletics, gamification refers to the use of game design elements, such as points, levels, challenges, and leaderboards, to enhance the training and engagement of athletes. 

While there are specific reasons why neuro training makes particular sense to gamify, we are part of a much larger trend to turn exercise and daily activities into a game. 

For example, Fitbit users get badges for 10,000 steps, or Apple Watch awards you for closing your rings. Read more on this trend here

Gamification is especially important for cognitive tasks that require attention, since the brain is the obvious focus of neuro training.

While these are benefits, having drills that are too game-like can be bad in its own right.

“It’s just a game.”

A challenge gamification creates is the perceived loss of translation to sports. 

Athletes might ignore the value of effective exercises if they think neuro training is just playing a game. Bankers don’t play Monopoly to make more money at work, right?

But skipping out on neuro training because it just feels like a game is comparable to ignoring cardio training because it’s hard. Yes, that’s true, but it’s powerful and so we do it anyway. Read more here for our thoughts on the relationship between cardio and neuro training. 

It’s also important to make sure that the game elements do not detract from the primary purpose of the drill, and there is scientific justification for the connection to a cognitive skill.

To complicate the question further, there’s a cost not to having gamification in neuro training drills too.

Boring Drills = Bad Data

The value of gamification was something we learned the hard way in 2018 while conducting a clinical study at Penn State. When brainstorming effective tests, we took a laboratory approach to drill design: strictly control the timing and location of targets, and change only one variable at a time.  

An early rendition of an inhibitory control test involved staying still and paying attention to slow moving targets for five minutes straight. After early experimentation, comparing scores at the beginning and end of the test was like looking at two different people.

In essence, boredom caused a difference in early and late scores by as much as 30%. We modified the test to be more rapid fire, and expanded the range in which targets could appear. Both anecdotally and in the data, the test results were significantly better.

The Takeaway

Adding gamification makes athletes more attentive, a relevant consideration when the drill involves brain activity. But this needs to be balanced with design elements that don’t go so far as to become a classic arcade game. 

And understanding the reasons neuro training is gamified can make it click as to why these things go together. 


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