When science was first introduced into sports such as golf, football, running, and baseball, questions was asked what was the need and is this a new fad? Now, some of the top trainers and coaches in sport are using science to get the most out of their athletes. And believe me, its no fad.
If you ask any top sportsman or woman or leading trainers about using science in sport, they will tell you it is an important tool. One organization that is helping all those on the sports world to improve is Neuroscience For Athletes.
Neuroscience for Athletes (www.neuroscienceforathletes.com) empowers athletes, coaches, and trainers who want to improve their performance through a deeper understanding of the brain. They are helping people to become better athletes from golfing, tennis, running, soccer, and cycling and more.
To try and understand more about Neuroscience for Athletes and how they are helping people to overcome mental blokes and improve their performance, I sat down with Angelina Huang, the founder of Neuroscience for Athletes. This is what she had to say.
1.First of all, please introduce yourself
My name’s Angelina Huang. I am a nationally top-ranked junior golfer. What got me into Neuroscience for Athletes is that I probably started having the yips in golf in my sophomore year. What that means is that I was over the ball, and I was trying to hit it in the hole. You probably had a six-foot putt, but every time I would try switching it, my hands would shake, and it would go in a completely different direction than where I wanted it to go. I introduced neuroscience to golf, not just for golf, but for athletes to bridge the gap in the learning curve because I struggled with it. I want to help other athletes who may be struggling with the same problem, yips, or other mental problems and help them overcome these interferences with their ability to play.
2. Can you explain more about Neuroscience for Athletes, which includes who is behand the company and why it was set up?
We’re Angelina and Cameron Huang, your friendly neighborhood neuroscience nerds and putting green pros. Imagine two high school siblings standing on the sweltering golf courses of Las Vegas, sweating not just because of the 110°F heat but also from the nerve-wracking putt that could make or break the tournament. Sound like a golf drama? It is, but with a twist.
The twist is our insatiable curiosity—our life’s caddie. We wondered, “What if we could hack into our brains to make that final putt less like Russian roulette and more like a magic trick we’ve perfected?” Thus began our fascinating journey from the sand traps of golf to the brain’s neural networks.
We are intrigued by Dr. David Eagleman’s books, Elon Musk’s Neurolink, and Dr. Huberman’s podcasts! If two golf-obsessed teenagers can fall in love with brain waves, synaptic transmissions, and dopamine releases, so can you. Our goal? To meld the neuroscience lab with the locker room, helping athletes everywhere unlock their inner Olympian and maybe even their inner philosopher.
So, we built our clubhouse—virtually, of course. Welcome to “Neuroscience for Athletes”! Picture the Masters Tournament, but swap the green jackets for lab coats and the hole flags for MRI brain scans. Our launch was more thrilling than sinking a hole-in-one from 200 yards out. Over 200 junior golfers hopped on this ride during the Worldstar Junior Golf Championship. And now, we want you to join us, too!
But we’re not stopping there. We’re diving headlong into the intricate web of neurons and synapses to dig up gems that could revolutionize our game. We’re tracking down the neuroscience world of Rory McIlroy and Serena Williams for brain-bending interviews. Expect to see us dissecting scholarly articles like they’re game replays and curating a list of must-read books that’ll make you rethink what ‘athlete’ means in the first place.
So, if you’ve ever found yourself missing that perfect putt or fumbling that decisive catch and wondering, “Is it all in my head?” We’re here to tell you it is! And that’s a good thing because minds, like games, can be won.
Swing High, Think Deep,
Angelina & Cameron Huang
3. You aim to empower athletes, coaches, and trainers to improve their peak performance. Can you explain how you can do this?
Empowering athletes, coaches, and trainers to tap into their peak performances is not just about mastering physical prowess; it’s a dance between the mind and body. I’d argue that the equation for top-tier performance is split evenly: 50% mental agility and 50% physical ability.
Athletes must invest hours in honing their skills at the foundation – that’s a given. However, the true magic lies in how they practice. The goal is to recreate high-pressure scenarios during practice, pushing athletes beyond their comfort zones. This simulative approach ensures that when game day arrives, they’ve experienced and conquered those nerve-wracking moments countless times, making the event less intimidating.
Let’s talk about the in-game mindset, using golf as an illustration (although the principle extends to other sports). Golf is a marathon, not a sprint. In a 4-5 hour round, an athlete’s mind can wander to many places: reminiscing the past, daydreaming about the future, or even playfully contemplating their pets at home. Here’s where the essence of “Neuroscience for Athletes” plays a pivotal role. We champion the art of ‘staying present.’ This concentrated focus on the ‘here and now’ differentiates a good athlete from an elite one. We strive to ground athletes in the present moment, ensuring they’re always in optimal performance.
4. I understand that in some sports it is a case of being mind of matter to succeed, but can you explain how understanding the brain can help coaches, and trainers?
Understanding the brain controls all your nervous systems. It’ll hold your movements, maintain your learning ability, and prevent how you operate under pressure. Coaches need to reinforce the practice of behaviors or ways you can perform under stress during training so that your brain can mimic these situations and help deal with them during the actual course.
5. Are you saying, that if you put together two athletes, and one of them came to you for your services, that they would beat the other athlete in a competition?
Like anything, I cannot be a hundred percent certain to say yes to that, but I can guarantee you that the person who has the neuroscience training will perform better under pressure. They’ll be able to stay in the moment; they’ll be able to accept the results in the end. I don’t know who the other player is; everyone’s skillset and mindset differs, but I can guarantee you that whoever undergoes the training from Neuroscience for Athletes will have the ability to stay present at the moment and will have the ability to redirect their distracting thoughts.
6. What research has been done to back up your claims that your services work to help athletes improve with their performance?
There’s one research that I talked about. I interviewed Dr. Mark Guadagnoli, a neuroscience professor at the School of Medicine, UNLV, on our channel, “Neuroscience for Athletes.” Still, one of the frameworks we discussed was the challenge point framework. What this means is that you need an optimal learning point or a challenge point to be able to grow. What this means is that you need to be challenged enough. It varies for all skill levels, but every time you progress, you need to ramp up your challenge to continue growing and learning more as an athlete or a person. That is one of the skills we implement during the practice part of the game, just making sure that you’re continually challenged so that you stay engaged. Two, it gets you subconsciously excited about your practice so that you can further learn and retain the information.
7. What age groups do you work with?
I work with all age groups, but primarily with high schoolers. I am looking to expand to the middle schoolers because I know at the prime age, many people probably start sports when they’re seven, but during that early stage, it’s more about having fun and building the fundamentals. I want to hone in when people develop the fundamentals and progress from there.
8. Do your services work with any sport? For example, would they work with Golf, basketball, and soccer?
Absolutely! This can be applied to all sports.
9. You are currently helping people in the USA, but do you plan to help sportsmen and women worldwide?
Yes, around the world.
10. There have been claims that the right nutrition can help improve the brain’s performance. is this true, and if so, how does that work?
There’s substantial evidence to support those claims. At its core, the brain is an energy-intensive organ that requires specific nutrients to function optimally. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and flaxseed help build and repair brain cells. Antioxidants in berries reduce inflammation, potentially slowing cognitive decline. Additionally, foods rich in vitamin E, like nuts and seeds, protect cells from oxidative stress. Proper nutrition is fuel and armor for the brain, enhancing its performance and health.
11. For people who are interested in your services, how can they get in touch with you?
Company Name: Neuroscience for Athletes
Contact Person: Angelina Huang, Cameron Huang
City: Las Vegas
Country: United States