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Talent starts in the brain

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

What is talent?

From a performance perspective, talent is 100% brain based.

When you break it down, the brain has 3 primary tasks:

  1. Receive input

  2. Interpret what to do with the input

  3. Create an output

And while most athletes only focus on training the output (eg. Throwing/shooting a ball, weights, punching …) , very few really train the quality of input or ability of interpretation. Yet the quality of input that the brain is getting is one of the main drivers for maximal performance.

The brain gets its input from 3 systems, which deal with the following questions:

  1. The visual system - where am I?

  2. The vestibular system/inner ear/balance system - which way is up?

  3. The proprioceptive system - where is my body in space?

To perform at a worldclass level all three sensory systems need to tell the same story to the brain at all times. Thats what’s almost always the case with elite level athletes.

The problem is that a lot of people/athletes have something called sensory missmatch.

What is sensory missmatch?

Sensory mismatch is a well-known phenomenon in health and neuroscience circles with the most common example of it being motion sickness. Motion sickness occurs when the eyes and the vestibular system are giving the brain competing information (the satellites are not saying the same thing) and the brain cannot manage the discrepancy.

As the threat of this mismatch goes up, the brain initiates ACTIONS (usually nausea, vomiting and vertigo) to try to make you change your behavior.

What is NOT widely understood in the sports world is that there are many forms of mild sensory mismatch that are not completely debilitating like motion sickness, but are still creating disturbances in performance and pain.

In highly functioning athletes, sensory missmatch almost never happens. Their 3 systems all tell the same story which leads to perfect performance.

How do you fix sensory missmatch?

By training the visual and vestibular system however you are able to get rid of sensory missmatch and thus increase the performance of your brain.

Fixing these issues will lead to a better brain software and thus take your „talent“ level to the next level.

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