Strobe light training and strobe glasses have gotten the attention of the sports world in recent years. With athletes like Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard using them to improve reaction time and eliminate distractions, many other athletes are wondering if they should do the same.
In this post, we’ll cover the essentials of strobe light training and what benefits it can bring. We’ll also explore some alternatives that might be even more exciting!
While strengthening the muscles and perfecting physical maneuvers is pivotal to the success of athletes around the world, improving brain functionality is important, too. Several studies have shown that well-trained athletes think and see the world around them a bit differently than non-athletes. When you think about how the body works during a fast-paced sports game, the idea is not as far-fetched as it originally seems.
You see, the connection between the eyes, brain, and body plays a very important role in how you react to stimulants you see. It's that cycle of information that's responsible for affecting how you move. For athletes, the process goes like this:
They see an opening or offensive technique that's being pulled off by the opposing team. In only a fraction of a second, the brain processes the information it just saw and sends signals to the rest of the body to react accordingly. To make things even more difficult, players must also make decisions on their next course of action.
While the connection between visual stimulants and physical reactions seems instantaneous, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Your brain is like a muscle. Challenging your mind strengthens it, which could result in a slew of positive benefits that can improve your athletic performance tenfold.
Strobe light training via strobe glasses is an effective way of enhancing your mental prowess and improving your overall brain functionality on the field. This form of training, while still considered to be relatively novel, is not new.
Early forms of strobe glasses can be traced back to the peak of Michael Jordan's NBA career. Back then, the famed basketball player used strobe lights to simulate the appearance of constant camera flashes during a game. Those camera flashes were known to be distracting and blinding. So, the strobe glasses helped Michael Jordan to overcome those performance issues.
Eventually, his trainer found glasses that could mimic the camera flashes without having to use physical strobe lights. Not only did the device help Michael Jordan avoid distractions, but he experienced several other performance benefits as well. Considering Michael Jordan's sports legacy, it's not hard to see why this unique form of training gained popularity in the sports world.
Since then, strobe glasses have been adopted by professional athletes across the world. It's not just reserved for NBA players. Strobe light training is considered a great way to help any athlete who performs precise techniques.
The concept behind strobe glasses is pretty simple. Basically, the goal is to limit visual information. Think of how a strobe light operates in a dimly lit room. It flashes at a rapid pace, allowing you to only see for only milliseconds at a time.
Even though the room is only lit for a fraction of a second, you're still able to get a good idea of what's in the room and how it looks. Why is that?
Well, it's because your brain is making up the difference. It's working overtime to process as much information as possible about that tiny bit of stimulation you received.
Strobe light training is all about taking advantage of your brain's ability to work off of limited information. One good way to look at strobe light training is to think of it as strength training for your mind.
Today, the easiest way to implement this unique training into your routine is to invest in strobe light glasses. At first glance, these glasses look like your average pair of sunglasses or ski goggles. However, they're hiding discreet liquid-crystal technology within the lenses.
The technology turns the clear lenses into fully opaque lenses that you can't see through. Depending on the particular model used, trainers may be able to initiate flashing sequences based on skill level.
The glasses may flash at a rapid pace for those who are new to strobe light training. Or, they can be set to stay dark for long periods of time for a bigger challenge.
When the LCD lenses flash, milliseconds of visual information is removed. Even still, your brain must process the information and make decisions on how you should react. By forcing your brain to work with only a small amount of visual data, you're strengthening and improving it’s ability to work under pressure.
Over time, you can experience a significant performance improvement. You can then decrease the flash rate to push your limits even further.
Typically, athletes will wear strobe glasses while performing drills and mock games. This ensures that the brain is fully capable of making those split-second decisions in situations that matter.
There are several areas of your game that can see improvement with strobe glasses. Many athletes who give this training technique a try say that the game feels like it's moving in slow motion. In reality, the brain is simply doing a better job of helping those athletes make sense of the events around them.
One of the biggest benefits you can experience is faster reaction times. In an intense game, every second matters. Human reaction time tends to wane as people get older.
Strobe glasses ensure that you're able to process information quickly and efficiently, even when you have full visibility of the playing field.
Overall focus and visualization skills are improved as well. Whether the game is being played on a private court or a field surrounded by fans, most sports are riddled with distractions. Having the ability to stay focused on the task at hand is pivotal.
With strobe light training, you can train your brain into locking onto your target. You'll be able to visualize the playing field and have a better understanding of the obstacles you need to get through to make a goal. All while staying focused on the ball at all times.
Mental performance isn't the only thing that strobe glasses change. You may also notice significant improvements in the way that you see the game unfolding in front of you.
Take, for example, a fast-paced game of basketball. Without proper training or experience, you can easily lose your balance keeping track of the ball. This is especially true if you favor using one eye over the other. Ultimately, you might have to choose between staying stable on your feet and watching the events of the game.
Strobe light training can enhance every visual aspect of the sport. This includes your ability to detect movement in your peripheral vision, how your inner ear reacts to rapid eye movements as you track the ball, and more. You can even learn to take advantage of both eyes for effective tracking, virtually eliminating visual dominance.
At Reflexion, we think that strobe light training is just scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to improving athletic performance.
Unlike strobe glasses, Reflexion goes deeper to improve your neuro-cognitive abilities as an athlete. While strobe light training is geared mostly toward improving reaction time and susceptibility to distractions, Reflexion takes a more performance-driven approach.
Benefits like improved short term pattern memory, hand-eye coordination, peripheral vision, and decision making can be seen in addition to the reaction time improvements you see with strobe glasses.
The level of customization is far superior as well. With Reflexion, you can easily monitor data over time and track improvements. There are also a variety of training drills that can be utilized depending on what sport the athlete competes in.
It’s also quite fun! In our experience, traditional strobe light training feels very much like a chore. The exercises you put your brain through with Reflexion feel more like a game. That makes it easy to get athlete buy-in at all levels and easily start implementing neuro-fitness training with your team (or at your gym).
Strobe light glasses aren’t going away anytime soon. With more and more athletes turning to various forms of cognitive training, we can expect to see new technology like this being developed and implemented for a number of sports.
If you’re interested in the benefits of strobe light training but want to see even more benefits, click here to get in touch with us. Reflexion is the best cognitive training solution for athletes on the market, and we’re just getting started!
Reflexion is not intended to diagnose, treat, or mitigate any disease or condition. It is not intended for use in treating concussions and other brain injuries and has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for such uses.