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GUST is fast-paced reaction training in virtual reality

By Jamie Moran

Product Update (June 2022): NeuroTrainer’s latest module GUST is the most dynamic speed and reaction training exercise ever built for athletes.

Released Spring 2022, GUST is NeuroTrainer’s latest module and combines reaction training with the fast-paced gameplay that makes virtual reality such a strong proxy for real-life sport. We think you’re going to love it.

VIDEO: NeuroTrainer CEO Noah Rolland gives an overview of GUST reaction training (3 mins)

Fast-paced dynamic reaction training

NeuroTrainer’s latest training GUST, delivers powerful reaction speed and decision making training, in a dynamic 3D environment.

The most fun and engaging training module yet

Athletes love training with GUST because it pushes them to the limit of their abilities in fast game-like situations in a video game setting.

A “quick” history of reaction training

You may remember the old reaction training boards.

Dynavision D2 Reaction Training
Dynavision D2
Source: AxionTech

Dynavision changed the cognitive training game when it launched its D2 board in the mid 90’s.

Quickly, high profile sports teams started to incorporate cognitive training applications into their regimens and sports scientists had a new area to experiment with.

What they did well was train decision making, peripheral vision and reaction time. It allowed trainers to run complex drills that were usually reserved for only the top athletes.

The challenge with light boards is the limitation of their design. They are literally a board, and a board is flat, static and 2D. The field of play is anything but, and athletes require a more dynamic and fluid form of training.

Enter Fitlight programmable LED discs

FIGHTLIGHT reaction training
FITLIGHT Reaction Training System
Source: Technobuffalo

This challenge paved the way for a new breed of reaction training technology to enter the market, with FitLight and its competitor, BlazePods. 

Now, athletes could use their entire body to respond to stimuli, placed strategically by their coach in a 360 degree format. This pushed the boundary of peripheral vision training, and upped the ante on hand-eye coordination. 

However, like their predecessor, they are still limited to the challenge of stationary training. The pods themselves don’t move. 

In sports, nothing is ever static, and the ball or puck can come at you from a variety of directions, angles, speeds and spins. Decision making takes on a new face every time you need to adjust your location, or have to choose between two things that weren’t there before (ie: balls and players). 

That’s why we built GUST. 

GUST is the ultimate evolution of reaction training 

Imagine having to play volleyball – except not with one ball, or two balls, but dozens of balls per minute. 

As an athlete, you will find yourself in a training environment where you have to concurrently: keep laser sharp focus on the opponents in front of you, reacting to trigger signals, dodging bombs, and successfully catching everything else that’s thrown at you – all at the same time.

GUST Reaction Training
NeuroTrainer’s latest module, GUST is fast-paced reaction training and pushes athletes to improve hand-eye coordination, situational awareness and error recovery.

Think of GUST like overspeed training for your brain. You’ll be challenged to engage your full cognitive abilities in our most immersive, challenging training yet. 

If you’re a coach, you can expect your athlete to not only find the training useful – they’re going to actually enjoy it. 

GUST introduces “Embodied Cognition” as a training context

Cognitive Training is only as good as its ability to interface with our nervous system. 

Our nervous system runs through our entire body and controls not only our thoughts and feelings but our physical interaction with the world through our muscles, balance, and touch. 

GUST provides a cognitive trainer that interacts with all of the parts of the nervous system which makes it feel real and relevant to athletes who want to be challenged and ultimately become better athletes.

With the help of virtual reality, GUST offers the first reaction trainer that is an embodied cognition training system. 

GUST Reaction Training Trains Specific Cognitive Skills 

As a contrast to traditional board- or light-based reaction training systems, GUST pushes athletes to the limit by training higher order key skills: 

Scanning & Ball Tracking

Keeping your eye on the ball and/or your opponent is replicated by the need to track targets and respond within milliseconds of their fuse going off. 

This builds the cognitive skill of scanning, and builds on peripheral vision and visual awareness training to deliver something that will pay dividends on the field. 

Impulse control

Knowing when to commit and when to hold back are key to limiting errors and maintain control while in rapidly changing situations. 

Decision making is the overarching cognitive skill that’s trained when refining impulse control, and a specialty among trainers of elite athletes.

GUST’s split-second decision making requirements give athletes a safe environment to test their decision speeds and avoid making the wrong choice. 

This improves their impulse control in real game situations. 

Situational awareness

Knowing what’s going on around you as an athlete is one of the highest-order cognitive skills. 

Fast-moving sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse and football require wide field of view, and a laser sharp focus on what’s important. 

Knowing where you are on the field, where the ball is, where your teammates are and where the opponents are all need large amounts of focus. 

GUST trains situational awareness by overloading the visual system with dozens of targets that athletes need to navigate in real time. 

8-minute training sessions provide hundreds of opportunities to expand vision and refine focus, translating to better performance on the field. 

Hand-eye coordination

GUST’s fast-paced action is low hanging fruit to train hand-eye coordination. 

Alternating balls and bombs are fired directly athlete, which require them to make quick decisions and either catch the balls or dodge the bombs.

In-game HUD’s help athletes align their catches and interact with the balls more efficiently, developing their fine motor skills.

End-of-session reports show athletes how they have improved, and help coaches understand where they need to improve. 

GUST helps athletes improve error recovery by exposing them to hundreds of failure attempts in a safe, progressive environment.
An athlete accumulates two strikes in an extended GUST training session, providing him with valuable mental reps to improve error recovery.

Error Recovery

Improving error recovery is a critical skill for athletes to extend their endurance in long games and matches. 

GUST helps train resiliency by exposing players to hundreds of mental reps over the course of a single 8-minute training session. 

Each rep starts out slowly so the athlete can get a feel for the rhythm, then gradually increases speed until it overwhelms both the visual and the motor system, forcing the athlete to deal with failure. 

Pushing through frustration in safe environments that limit any type of physical exposure is a fast and effective way to help athletes build mental grit. 

What athletes are saying about GUST Reaction Training: 

“Wow this is awesome for reaction time and hand-eye coordination.”

“It will help you to scan your environment in a blink of an eye, and you can react to things happening very quickly around you.”

“I use this everyday to help train my reaction speed and peripheral awareness.”

“GUST was really helpful for baseball and catching the ball.”

What coaches are saying about GUST Reaction Training

“My athletes love it” Michael Rabasca, Director of Mental Performance, LA Galaxy 

“Omg! Gust is super fun!” Coach Maya, Head Coach, St. Ignatius Girls Basketball

GUST is just the latest of several NeuroTrainer training modules.

Like all NeuroTrainer modules, GUST is based in firm neuroscience, and made especially for youth sports, students and any cognitive training application. 

Interested in trying GUST or another NeuroTrainer module out with your team? Schedule a consultation with a NeuroTrainer rep to find out if your team is a fit. 

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