Tag Archives: Decision making

Basketball And The BAM Project

via Axon Sports

Imagine an NCAA basketball coach trying to create a game plan for their first March Madness game with absolutely no video footage of their upcoming opponent.  Sure, he has their roster with player names, height/weight and positions.  He also has a set of specific stats that show the performance of each player and the team during the season.  Yet, there is no opportunity to see the team play as a unit, how they move the ball, or their communication.  The resulting game strategy would be full of educated guesses and assumptions based on just the macro picture of the roster and the micro world of data and statistics. Welcome to the …

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Peyton Manning Relies On Top-Down Attention

via Axon Sports

This article by Axon Sports originally appeared at our partner National Football Post, the leader in football news and analysis. Whenever Peyton Manning takes the field, the superlatives come fast and furious from football commentators. As well they should, the future Hall of Fame QB has proven his superior cognitive and physical skills repeatedly over his 15 seasons. However, back in week 2 of the NFL season when the Broncos met the Falcons for a Monday Night Football game, the importance of a well designed and disguised defense was on display. The Atlanta defense highlighted the importance of cognitive skills in football, as the ability to force bad decisions was shown …

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Elite Soccer Players’ Brains Excel At Planning And Problem Solving

via Axon Sports

Coaches and commentators often refer to an athlete’s ability to “see the field” or be a play-maker.  Rookies at the next level can’t wait for the game to “slow down” so their brains can process all of the moving pieces.  What exactly is this so-called game intelligence and court vision?  Can it be recognized and developed in younger players?  For the first time, neuroscientists at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet have found a link between our brain’s “executive functions” and sports success. When in the middle of a heated game on the field or court, our brains are accomplishing the ultimate in multitasking.  Moving, anticipating, strategizing, reacting and performing requires an enormous amount …

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Teaching Your Brain How To Play Soccer

via Axon Sports

When describing what’s wrong with today’s youth soccer coaching, Michel Bruyninckx points to his head. “We need to stop thinking football is only a matter of the body,” the 59-year old Belgian Uefa A license coach and Standard Liège academy director recently told the BBC. “Skillfulness will only grow if we better understand the mental part of developing a player. Cognitive readiness, improved perception, better mastering of time and space in combination with perfect motor functioning.” We’re not talking about dribbling around orange cones here.  Bruyninckx’s approach, which he dubs “brain centered learning” borrows heavily from the constructivist theory of education that involves a total immersion of the student in the …

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Top Tennis Players Simply See Better

via Axon Sports

For most of us mere mortals, if an object was coming at us at 120-150 mph, we would be lucky to just get out of the way. Top tennis players, like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, not only see the ball coming at them with such speed, but plan where they want to place their return shot and swing their racquet in time to make contact.

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What If Xavi Made Even Better Decisions?

via Axon Sports

When Xavi Hernandez receives the soccer ball in his offensive half of the field, the Barcelona maestro has a world of decisions waiting for him.  Hold the ball while his teammates arrive, make the quick through pass to a slicing Lionel Messi or move into position for a shot.  The question that decision researchers want to know is whether Xavi’s brain makes a choice based on the desired outcome (wait, pass or shoot) or the action necessary to achieve that goal.  Then, could his attitude towards improvement actually change his decision making ability? Traditionally, the decision process was seen as consecutive steps; first choose what it is you want then choose …

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The Synapse – Better Decision Making In Sports

via Axon Sports

In this week’s Synapse, we made a game-time decision, (pun intended), to focus on the high-speed decision making skills of athletes that are critical in so many sports. There are several new research studies out that all take a different angle. However, it was an interesting post by Ross Tucker at the always excellent blog, The Science of Sport that sparked our curiosity.  As a consultant to the South African rugby team, he commented on the recent World Cup final that saw New Zealand triumph over France. However, it wasn’t the decision making of the players that Tucker wrote about, but rather of the referee. For those unfamiliar with rugby, like …

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Artificial Intelligence Research Tackles Football Knowledge

via Axon Sports

As football fans, it’s easy to watch our favorite teams play and be couch coaches and recliner refs. We’re able to watch the action on the field and make sense of the chaotic movements of the players and figure out the design and intention of the plays. Even for the casual fan, their brain is able to make sense of the basic strategy and rules of the game. But, how did we get to this point? How did we initially learn what is actually a very complex sport? For those that actually play the game, that learning and reaction process is critical to on-field success.

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The Wonderlic makes no sense. So what does?

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There is a very interesting article in the upcoming ESPN magazine by Jonah Lehrer about the Wonderlic, and why on earth NFL teams insist on continuing to use it. The article is interesting, and addresses the fundamental silliness of using the wonderlic as a measure of a quarterback’s fitness for pro ball. This is, in essence, because the wonderlic tests a type of intelligence and decision making that is so different from what happens on the field that it is basically useless. (Check out some sample Wonderlic questions here.) From the ESPN Article: Consider a recent study by economists David Berri and Rob Simmons. While they found that Wonderlic scores play …

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When experts are wrong

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In the same way that exceptions teach a lot about rules, the failures of experts can be as instructive about the nature of expertise as their successes. Here is a great segment from BBC Radio with Dan Gardner, the author of Future Babble, a new book about why experts who make predictions turn out to be so wrong so often. The book focuses on the fallibility of certain types of experts: economists, political experts, journalists and intelligence experts. It turns out that the average expert is only about as accurate as random chance, or, in the words of the author, “a dart-throwing chimpanzee”. Even further, it turns out that the fame …

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