Unraveling the Power of EEG in Sports Neuroscience

A sports athlete wearing the EMOTIV Insight EEG headset while training.

EMOTIV Insight, an EEG headset, is poised to revolutionize brain research, transporting it from the lab directly into the sports field. As Sportbrain seeks to unlock deeper insights into our brains, we’re left pondering: How do specific brain functions like ‘inhibition’ evolve with age? This ‘million-dollar question’ piques my weekly curiosity.

Read more: Unraveling the Power of EEG in Sports Neuroscience

Bridging Science and Sports:

For Sportbrain, my aim is to translate cerebral scientific knowledge to practical sports applications. While SMARTGOALS presents an incredible avenue for achieving this, I confess the challenge of providing tangible evidence that various brain functions are indeed being trained. However, technology doesn’t remain static. The capability to measure brainwaves in real-time during sports activities, analogous to heart rate monitors, has become a reality.

The Symphony of Neurons:

Our brain, an intricate network of billions of nerve cells called neurons, communicates using tiny electrical signals. These clusters of neurons emit signals in distinct rhythms or waves. Research identifies six distinct waves, named after Greek alphabet letters, each with a unique frequency. On an electroencephalography (EEG), these waves are measured in Hertz.

The Orchestra of Brainwaves:

Brainwaves are dynamic, with no singular wave in dominance. This phenomenon is akin to an orchestra, where each brainwave is an instrument playing a note. Combined, these notes, or brainwaves, determine our behavior. For instance, Alfa waves ensure non-essential brain parts remain subdued during intense concentration, while Théta waves enable focus on a single task. Beta waves sound neurological alarms, keeping us sharp and alert. Mu-waves steer our motor system, enabling movement. Finally, Delta waves come alive during deep, dreamless sleep, and the Gamma waves, still mysterious to science, might integrate various components or impressions.

Science Speaks: EEG in Practice:

So, what’s the consensus on EEG and its practical application, particularly in sports? In a comprehensive 2015 review, Joanne L. Park and her team delve deep into this very topic, unearthing both concerns and the exhilarating potential of mobile EEG headsets. Quoting her:

  • “Mobile EEG’s application in assessing sports performance has revolutionary potential in understanding sporting behavior.”
  • “Advancements in mobile technologies empower cognitive neuroscientists to scrutinize genuine sporting behavior.”
  • “Introducing EEG into training arenas promises not just understanding brain-behavior connections but also heralds new breakthroughs in sports practices.”

From Theory to Practice:

My excitement surged reading these findings. A quick online expedition led me to a TED Talk by Alan Harvey titled ‘Your brain on music.’ Here, a music enthusiast, adorned with an EEG headset, reacts to live orchestra pieces. The captivating results showcase brain reactions to different music pieces, viewable here.

EMOTIV Headsets: A Leap Forward:

This EEG headset showcased in the video? It’s the portable EMOTIV Headsets. Manufactured by the American company EMOTIV, several models cater to diverse needs, each armed with sensors to measure brain functions. Their application in sports? Watch this video.

Researchers, equipped with the EMOTIV Headset, discern which brain regions activate during specific sports actions, guiding targeted training. And with comprehensive studies backing the EMOTIV headset, it stands out as a trusted choice among EEG devices.


Combining the reliability of the EMOTIV headset and the research by Joanne L. Park and her team, we’re on the brink of exciting new opportunities in sports neuroscience.

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