The stadium lights at the U.S. Bank Stadium were shining particularly bright this last November. The Minnesota Vikings were doing divisional battle with the Green Bay Packers on Primetime Sunday Night Football and the game could only be described as electric. The two teams had squared off earlier in the season resulting in a rare overtime tie and during halftime of the teams’ second meeting, the score was all tied up once again.
If the situational stakes were not high enough, both teams needed the late November win to secure their place in the playoff hunt. Mid-third quarter, the Vikings were able to kick a field goal, but it was clear that these evenly matched teams were again at a deadlock. Both teams had trained hard and fought harder, only to be met with equal fervor. Elite level athletes often talk about gaining the slight edge over competitors and it is precisely for moments like this.
With less than 40 seconds left in the third quarter, the Vikings were in scoring position on the 14-yard line. Kirk Cousins had his offence in a tight single back set and was facing one of the fiercest line-backers in NFL history, Clay Mathews. This was a high-pressure situation that required nerves of steal and laser like precision.
Kirk Cousins was ready.
The ball snapped, and Clay Mathews came in like a rocket. But Cousins was prepared with a play action that allowed him to make a snap decision and scoot past Clay. Cousins bootlegged out past Clay and found Adam Thielen for the touchdown. The Vikings went on to win 24-17 over the Packers. When asked about how Cousins’ pulled the victory off, he referred to the intentionality that he strives for during training.
— Neurocore (@neurocore) December 13, 2018
For seven years, Cousins has been training with Neurocore to improve this, “intentionality” through the use of brain training. Measuring Cousin’s brain activity in real-time, Neurocore coaches him on mitigating stress and increasing mental acuity when games like second Viking-Packers match-up are on the line. Neurocore specializes in training athletes’ brain to maintain a healthy balance of fast and slow brainwaves. With balanced electrical activity, athletes like Cousins, become more calm, focused, and able to get the coveted, “edge” over opponents.
The cap in the Neurocore hat is their neurofeedback therapy but the company also specializes in helping athletes achieve optimal sleep and breathing habits. In Cousins case, through neurofeedback, which is a real-time measurement of the brain’s activity, and the coaching he gets with his breathing and monitoring of sleep, the 30-year-old Cousins has a method for mitigating stress, recalling and processing information at a rapid rate and sharpening the peripheral and mental awareness he needs to perform at his best.
In an interview with ESPN, Cousins recently commented, “I think quarterback comes down far more to the mental, to the nonphysical in the sense of your leadership, your emotional makeup, your ability to process information and have spatial awareness.” Cousins states, “All those things are hard to measure. There aren’t as many tests at the combine and that kind of thing. I am trying to train those things the best I can because I realize that’s the key to being a really good quarterback.”
Kirk Cousins brain training regimen is custom tailored to the rigors of the NFL although Neurocore is helping athletes in Michigan and Florida at the brain training centers. For more information check out their website at https://www.neurocorecenters.com/athlete.
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