The Value of Neuro Training | A Blazepod Collaboration

As part of a collaborative effort, this article is authored by Michael Cummings at Blazepod, a flash reflex training company. Michael can be reached at [email protected].

You may have noticed an overwhelming surge in reaction training systems being used in professional sports as well as rehabilitation therapy. Recently I have seen video ranging from Formula One champion Max Verstappen using these lights to the legendary physiotherapist Kevin Wilk. It seems everyone is drinking the “Flashing Light Kool-aid”… and they might have good reason for it.

The essence of this type of training is complex, but not complicated. The user recognizes a stimulus, processes their next move and then reacts as quickly and accurately as they can. Key words being quick and accurate, as it is easy to quickly make the wrong decision or slowly make the right decision. The secret sauce is in training your physical abilities together with your cognitive abilities.

Combining physical and cognitive activities has positive synergistic effects that exceed the pure addition of the positive effects of cognitive and physical exercises by themselves. (Fabian, et al, 2015) This 1 + 1 = 3 summation for enhancing athletic performance may attribute to the growth in popularity for these types of Smart Lights.

Another reason may be because sport requires the application of cognitive, perceptual and motor skills. One meta-analysis states that “outstanding” athletes were shown to have an enhanced ability to make decisions and extrapolate relevant information from their environment to anticipate future events and outcomes. They also seem to have a more effective visuo-spatial processing and greater selective attention. (Mann, et al, 2007/ Fabian, et al 2015)

These cognitive enhancements coupled with their physical strengths were noted as reasons why they perform better than others. They were able to anticipate their opponents’ intentions quicker, were more accurate and proficient in their decision making, and possessed an unparalleled ability to foreshadow or predict future events and outcomes relative to their lesser skilled counterparts. (Mann, et al, 2007/ Fabian, et al 2015)

These results are consistent with the notion that the use of advanced perceptual cues have been demonstrated to facilitate sport performance by means of aiding in the anticipation of opponent’s actions and decreasing overall response time. 


Should Tactical Populations Train Their Brain Like Elite Athletes?

Police, Fire, & Military personnel are required to make quick decisions in stressful, often physically challenging situations. So are elite athletes.

Acquiring skills, recalling training, maintaining a high degree of readiness and keeping your composure are requirements for success in both tactical & athletic performance.

To ensure peak performance, athletes consistently train to improve their reaction time, peripheral awareness, eye/hand coordination and focus. The end result being improved information processing speed and the ability to make accurate decisions under pressure.


Barbara Schwartz wrote an excellent piece on this exact topic, paralleling the decisions you make everyday and decisions Indycar racers make.

…“in a car traveling 220 miles per hour while moving hands and feet, trying to read and comprehend displays, making steering wheel inputs, and dealing with an elevated heart rate, an activated fight or flight nervous system, and extreme environmental conditions like heat and humidity”.

Aside from the fact this all takes place in a car at 220mph, it sounds like a scenario you are familiar with.

READ MORE on that article from Calibre Press.


Human factors, like fatigue, stress, diet and sleep affect everyone’s cognitive abilities.

Utilizing technology, like Reflexion, is one way to track scores over time in order to both show progress, as well as determine readiness.

Let’s say an athlete tests 22% below their average. A quick conversation can determine if that athlete needs to have a longer warmup, or if they need to be held out of practice.

Monitoring readiness can prevent you from sending someone into a situation where they could harm themself or others.


The brain has a natural ability to change, adapt, and even reorganize itself to function differently as a result of learning and experience.

Neuro training can strengthen these new neural pathways to accelerate learning & retain information as it’s being learned.

Air Force pilots use neuro training to master a new flight simulator quickly, while West Point athletes utilize neuro training to “become comfortable” performing when fatigued & distracted.

Soccer players use neuro training to improve peripheral vision to assess the ENTIRE situation and make decisions while in pursuit.

See How Reflexion Increases Shooting Accuracy.


Baseball hitters with high reaction time scores swing at fewer pitches and have a higher batting average, while also making fewer errors. They take fewer actions, and when they do act, it is correct.

In the words of MLB Opthalmalogist, Dr. Dan Laby (sportsvision.nyc), “an athlete with faster reaction time has the ability to wait longer before taking an action, thus having more visual information to make the correct decision”.

The brain processing information rapidly “slows the game down”, allowing athletes to stay calm, recall training, and reduce both rate & severity of errors.


Reflexion is in the business of “bringing neuro training to the masses” and believes everyone should include neuro training in their program.

In addition to the no-tech training suggestions offered in Barbara Schwartz’s article, Reflexion created a video series showcasing strategies to incorporate neuro training with everyday items.

Click Here if you’re interested in videos showing low-tech solutions for neuro training using just a few simple items.

The Different Forms of Neuro Training

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Neuro training is broadly applicable to many different use cases: improving sports performance, neuro and vestibular rehabilitation, physical therapy, general wellness, etc.

But there isn’t one set way to do it, and there are many “forms” of neuro training already available, beyond just Reflexion’s light-board based products. In issue number 4 of this newsletter, we’ll cover some of the different ways neuro training is available.

Low Tech or No Tech

Pros: Low cost, flexible setup
Cons: Time and coach intensive, no data
Rough Cost: <$25

By getting creative with colored cones and tennis balls you can come up with engaging drills for your athletes.

The problem with this category is it requires a coach to oversee and come up with the drills. For ideas on how to do this, Reflexion created a short youtube playlist of four different drills you can try out!

Strobe Goggles

Pros: Sport-specific training, easy to use
Cons: No data tracking
Companies: Senaptec, Strobe Sport
Rough Cost: $300+

Strobe goggles impede an athlete’s vision for brief moments (tenths of a second), making the eyes and brain work harder to process the world with less visual information.

The advantage of goggles is they don’t require special exercises or training, rather you can wear them while shooting baskets or playing volleyball, adding an extra challenge.

While strobes don’t have any way to track data or progress, they’re a great way to train your sport under more challenging conditions.

Flash Reflex Training

Pros: Flexible set up, portable
Cons: Time and coach intensive
Companies: Blazepod, Fitlight, A-Champs
Rough Cost: $300+

Flash reflex training involves touch sensitive LED “cones” that can be placed in different configurations to run drills. This allows for a ton of flexibility to add reaction time and decision making tasks to stationary or agility based exercises.

If you’ve mastered No Tech neuro training, you’ll be able to use these products to take it to the next level.

Light Board Technology

Pros: Comprehensive testing, long term data tracking
Cons: Cost
Companies: Reflexion, Dynavision, Senaptec
Rough Cost: $4,000+ (typically $15,000+)

Light board technology is using LED touchscreens to run different drills and exercises. These are capable of training and assessing a wide swath of cognitions (reaction time, eye-hand coordination, etc) and offer detailed data tracking.

The clear disadvantage is cost- most products are greater than fifteen or even twenty thousand dollars. Reflexion is the only company to offer light board based training for under $4,000 with our Flex product.


Pros: Varies
Cons: Varies
Rough Cost: Varies

To put it mildly, this is a broad category. And while it almost didn’t get included for that reason, there are a few well known products that are worth mentioning. Righteye and Neuro Tracker are both custom devices used for eye tracking and multi-object tracking.

As this industry advances, I’m confident that software and apps will play a key role in neurocognitive training/assessment. It’s an area to keep an eye out.

Virtual Reality

Pros: Affordable, Portable, Personalized
Cons: Peripheral Vision Limited
Rough Cost: <$40/mo

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. 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.

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. You can learn more about Reflexion GO for the Meta Quest 2 at https://reflexion.co/go.

The Takeaway

This list shouldn’t be viewed as all the methods for neuro training- there’s a plethora of companies and methodologies out there, and the space is only growing. Especially if you would categorize parts of sport psychology under neuro training, this list is very incomplete.

Nonetheless, this list can serve as a springboard to ways neuro training can help athletes and patients alike.

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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.

The Hierarchy of Human Performance

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What’s a trainable skill, versus what are you born with?

If we treat human performance like a pyramid, the bottom level is inherited human physiology. This would be the foundation for any specific ability and varies from person to person.

At this bottom level, genetics plays the lead role – some people are born with larger bone structure and sharper eyes, and this can give them an advantage from an early age.

Intuitively, this makes sense. Naturally good eyes will give you an advantage as you rank up through leagues. A publication found major league MLB players to have slightly better visual acuity (20/12) than minor leaguers, and much better acuity than the general population (20/20).

As you climb the pyramid, you enter abilities that are trainable. That includes areas such as muscle mass, cardio endurance, and eye-hand coordination. They’re improved with weight training, cardio training, and neuro training, respectively. This mid-tier level is where Reflexion trains neuro skills.

Let’s Talk Real World

One step above that is sport or action specific tasks – hitting a baseball, shooting a basket, and serving a tennis ball are all examples. These are skills that have specific techniques and require practice.

For example, the best way to learn bowling is to… bowl. No surprises there.

It’s why many athletes can switch easily between sports. Shooting a basketball doesn’t make you good at volleyball, but they both require excellent eye-hand coordination. If you’re good enough at one, you can probably pick up the other relatively easily.

An Example in Baseball

So how do cognitions play into the real world?

Last December, we had Dr. Dan Laby on one of our podcast episodes. He’s a very well respected researcher in the sports vision space, and the author of the MLB visual acuity paper referenced above. Here’s what he had to say on vision training’s impact on the field.

“Having a faster reaction time doesn’t mean you’re going to swing at more pitches or swing the bat faster. What it seems to mean from the data is that it gives you the option to sit back a little bit more, to see more of the pitch…[and] to make a better decision. Is this [pitch] the ball you want to hit, or can you let it go?

And so we see people that have these faster reaction times actually allow more strikes, because they’re waiting for the right pitch. Now they don’t strike out, in fact they walk more…but if they have the count in their favor, and this pitch isn’t exactly where they want to hit it, they’ll take the strike.”

The Research Gap

Knowing where neuro training fits into this hierarchy is important for understanding how it will translate to the real world, and why there isn’t more research in this space yet.

Trying to analyze how neuro training improves on-field performance is like trying to determine how bench press translates to QB sacks for a lineman. Very few would argue bench press isn’t an important exercise, but scientifically proving and showing that sort of relationship is a challenging task.

The Takeaway

When looking at ways to improve human performance, sport-specific tasks represent only a portion of an athlete’s opportunity. Fundamental abilities related to strength, cardio, and neuro all offer ways to train.

And as the neuro training and assessment industry grows, more research will be needed to better validate its effectiveness and reliability, and we hope to be a leader in this field.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the research supporting neuro training now, including topics beyond just sports, take a look at this database we put together.

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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!

The Science of Neuro Training, For Dummies | Newsletter Issue 2

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The brain communicates like a complex, interstate highway system. When the brain wants to make a decision or take action, signals travel through this network like messenger cars carrying instructions.

Just like travel in real life, the shorter and more efficient the brain’s highway system is between regions, the better and faster communication happens.

One of the most incredible facts about the brain is its ability to reshape this highway network, also known as neuroplasticity. That’s when the brain makes adaptive changes to itself (structural and functional) in response to intrinsic or external stimuli.

Beyond the technical definition, it’s something we experience every day and is basic enough in its application- if you order food at a restaurant and it’s bad, your brain knows not to go back!

In order to get a broader understanding of how neuroplasticity works in sports and training, it’s easiest to understand it in the context of injuries.

Neuro Rehab & Injury Recovery

Neuroplasticity was originally researched in relation to brain injuries, and is what’s allowed for the development of neuro rehabilitation.

When an injury to the brain occurs, like a stroke or concussion, picture a traffic jam in the highway system. With the existing path blocked due to the injury, the brain will naturally create a detour around the damaged area, allowing operations to continue. The tradeoff is that it uses a slower and less efficient route.

This automatic rewiring is an incredible adaptation of the brain, but even after the brain heals the damage to that highway network, the brain will not return to using the original, better communication path.

By now, the brain doesn’t care that it’s less efficient, it sticks to the working path that it reformed after the injury.

Using the right exercises and techniques, neuroplasticity can be used like Waze or Google Maps, creating the quickest and most efficient path to navigate that highway system. That’s how a medical professional can rehabilitate the brain to use faster routes, like it did prior to injury.

Practice Makes… Better

That’s how neuro rehab works, but even for a healthy individual, there’s no such thing as a perfect brain. Neuro training takes the same principles and offers the potential to optimize the communication networks within the brain.

A shorter and more efficient pathway means increasing the speed and efficiency in which you make decisions and take action. For an athlete, that can provide a competitive edge versus their peers.

There are different forms of neuro training (that we’ll cover in future newsletters), but all of them operate around this same principle of training and changing the brain pathways to respond faster and more efficiently.

The Takeaway

Whether the goal is to recover an injured patient to normal, or train an athlete to respond more efficiently, the basic principles of neuro training are the same. Optimizing communication between different parts of the brain will result in faster, more efficient decisions and actions.

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Launch of the Reflexion Newsletter

Reflexion has launched newsletter, where we advance the education behind neuro training and highlight trends in the world of sports vision.

Our mission is to make neuro training mainstream at all levels of athletics, not just with the pros or elites. A lofty task, but one that we believe is already well under way.

A Trend In Our Training Habits

Among sports scientists, it’s been well understood for decades that visual and cognitive training (shortened down to neuro training) can improve on-field performance.

But the technology available for this is either far too simple – like bouncing a colored tennis ball – or far too complex – like requiring specialized staff for one-on-one instruction. It’s time someone filled the void to offer neuro training capable of integrating into any workout.

It’s part of a trend that goes well beyond just sports. The brain is finally getting the attention it deserves in performance, whether it be through conversations like

Problems In A Developing Market

The issue with a developing market is it leaves questions among the populus as education lags behind. Questions like

  • How does neuro training work? What’s effective vs what’s a gimmick?
  • How can I integrate neuro training into other workouts?
  • What are the different kinds of neuro training?


It’s our goal to not only provide the best neuro training products available on the market, but simultaneously cultivate a higher level of understanding behind this industry. This newsletter will answer these questions, and many more.

The Takeaway

What started out as a niche development for pro athletes – vision and cognitive training – has grown in popularity over the last decade, and is starting to take shape as a more developed practice.

Now known as neuro training, this fits into an athlete’s workout in a similar way to strength, agility, or cardio training. It’s all part of a holistic approach aimed at maximizing performance.

But as interest in neuro training grows, so does the demand for information and research surrounding it.

Beyond offering powerful products to improve the implementation of that training, Reflexion’s mission is to increase the understanding of this industry as a whole. This newsletter is one small step in that direction.

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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.