How Cross-Brain Communication Can Help You Become a Better Athlete
Have you ever heard people describe someone as either right-brained or left-brained? If you are an artistic individual then chances are that at some point in your life you have been described as right-brained. This is because the right side of the brain is responsible for imagination, rhythm, spatial awareness, dimensions, emotional processing and daydreaming. On the other hand, the left side of the brain is specialized for analysis, words, mathematics, lists and logic. Because the two sides of the brain are so different and specialized, it is important that they are able to quickly and successfully communicate with one another. This is especially important for movement, as motor commands have to be quickly coordinated across the two sides of the body.
What is cross-brain communication:
Cross-brain communication is communication between the two brain hemispheres. Essentially it is the right and left side of the brain talking to one another. This communication occurs through a broad bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum.
How does it affect sports performance:
Increased cross-brain communication has been linked to overall higher brain performance as well as enhanced memory retrieval, coordination and concentration. All of these skills are critical to excelling in any sport. While you wouldn’t necessarily think of it, efficient memory retrieval is a crucial aspect to many sports. From remembering football plays to memorizing a pitcher’s weaknesses, athletes rely on memory every time they step onto the field. Coordination, particularly between muscles on either sides of the body, is a key component to most sports. Enhanced cross-brain communication results in improved balance and coordination between the left and right side of the body.
How to improve cross-brain communication:
An easy way to increase cross-brain communication is to engage in bilateral movements, as this exercises both hemispheres of the brain. Bouncing two Qballs simultaneously with both hands is an easy way to accomplish this. Bouncing the Qball also initiates rapid horizontal eye movement, resulting in increased communication between the two brain hemispheres and enhanced memory retrieval. It is a well-known fact that the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. Patching one eye and bouncing the Qball with the corresponding hand initiates further cross-brain communication as the brain is forced to send visual data across the hemispheres in order to catch the Qball.