In my previous post, I explored the intriguing question: Is brain training the key to an athlete’s success? Today, we’ll dive into Eyegym, a unique brain training tool embraced by the Dutch women’s hockey team.Read more: Eyegym: The Secret to Athletic Brain Training
From Cape Town to the Athletic World
Interestingly, the birthplace of Eyegym is quite distant from major sporting nations: Cape Town, South Africa. The program’s brainchild is Dr. Sherylle Calder, a former hockey player. Young Calder, with hockey roots, moved from South Africa to Europe in 1987 to pursue her passion. She played for clubs in England, Germany, and the Netherlands. With a relentless drive to better herself, she constantly compared her skills to top players. This quest for excellence didn’t end with her hockey career. Her doctorate from the University of Cape Town in 1999 gave her the answers she sought. Calder deduced that success relies on a three-step process: ‘seeing with your eyes,’ ‘processing information in the brain,’ and then ‘making swift and precise decisions.’ This foundation led to the creation of Eyegym.
The Mechanics of Eyegym
Like many cognitive trainers, Eyegym employs online games. These adaptive games, playable on tablets or PCs, focus on honing executive functions. A mere 10-minute daily session can enhance concentration, attention to detail, memory, reaction time, coordination, and spatial awareness. Moreover, Eyegym excels in eye training. Calder remarks in an interview, “If an athlete’s eyes slow down, so will their body. After all, it’s the eyes that guide the body.”
Dr. Sherylle Calder initiated Eyegym in 1996. Over two decades, numerous top athletes have benefited from this method. Case in point: the national Rugby teams of England and South Africa. Both teams, after training with Eyegym, clinched world championships — England in 2003 and South Africa in 2007.
Another high-profile name is Valtteri Bottas. The Finnish Formula 1 driver, now with Mercedes, has been training with Eyegym since 2012. During a 10-minute session, he faces 500-800 unique decision points, prepping his brain to process a deluge of information quickly — an invaluable skill during a Grand Prix.
Over 20 years, Eyegym has built an impressive resume, leaving other cognitive trainers in the dust. With scientific studies backing its efficacy (more on that later), its credibility is hard to dispute.