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Competing in sports requires an enormous amount of time, effort, and physical ability. To achieve significant results, athletes must be able to exert strength, speed, and power while maintaining a high level of technical performance. These qualities are developed through physical training on the field, track, or in the gym. However, a growing number of studies suggest that cognitive training in sports can also play a crucial role in performance improvement.

From the 1950s to the present day, various research has been conducted to understand the functional organization of the auditory and somatosensory nervous system. Many studies have addressed the concept of brain plasticity, the idea that the brain can change at any age, responding to circumstances and new stimuli. Dr. Michael Merzenich (a pioneer in this field, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, and with whom Microgate has had the pleasure of collaborating for several years) has demonstrated that brain plasticity is a physical process. Gray matter can indeed reduce or thicken, neural connections can be forged and refined, or (conversely) weakened and severed. Changes in physical brain structure manifest in our abilities and can be stimulated at any age. The concept of Cognitive Training has thus evolved by identifying which brain mechanisms to target and how to effectively exercise them. Today, scientifically proven non-invasive solutions exist to work specifically on these mechanisms.

Cognitive sports training is still in development. Although it has been used in practice for several years, different applications have shown varying degrees of effectiveness. Cognitive sports training includes a wide range of exercises designed to improve various aspects of athletic performance not only at the psychological level (contributing to the development of self-confidence, motivation, mental strength, stress management, and pre-competition anxiety) but also to enhance technical competence in various sports situations.

Cognitive training aims to maintain or improve a person's skills through brain stimulation, acting on brain plasticity and increasing the number of neural connections. There are scientifically structured programs that focus on various cognitive areas and improve brain functions. These protocols train individuals to perform specific "mental acts" during a task and then habituate them to execute them unconsciously during a sports gesture. After an initial assessment, these non-invasive and scientifically proven solutions allow targeted work on neural plasticity mechanisms with protocols adaptable to individual capabilities. Below are some examples.

Thanks to the collaboration with Prof. Michael Merzenich, Microgate has embraced the BrainHQ approach for several years now (the only brain training platform developed based on 30 years of research in the neuroscientific field). The proposed exercises are fun and tailored to each user. They are designed to provide useful and meaningful training to individuals in various areas: attention, cognitive speed, memory, sociality, orientation, and intelligence (see figure below).

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