Neurofeedback Training: Music to my Brain!
To prepare for my time in the car this year, I am taking every step to ensure maximum performance. Since all my funding comes from my racing relationships, it is imperative that I perform to the highest possible level every time I'm in the car. I cannot disappoint all the people who are helping me further my career.
I must show that I am constantly striving to improve myself, not just as a driver, but as an athlete, a brand representative, a team player, and a businessman.
This week I am in Indianapolis with Racecraft1, an established simulation training center run by Kelly Jones.
Kelly Jones was an F-16 fighter pilot for the United States Air Force. Kelly emphasizes telemetry review and session debriefing as a way to maximize learning retention. This technique is used by the Air-Force due to the high cost of flight training. A pilot must be able to retain as much information as possible because time in the cockpit is extremely limited and expensive. The same applies to racers.
Racecraft1 has partnered with Kevin Butterfield and Brain Forest Centers, a company that specializes in
Neurofeedback: A process that uses sound to improve brain function!
This particular technology sparked interest in me as a Musician. I am someone who experiences goosebumps during powerful or emotional music.
This phenomenon is relatively common and those that experience it have a greater connection between sound and brain activity. Neurofeedback works on this very same principal. Sound can change the brain. A qEEG (brain scan) provides physical proof of the changes in the brain after the Neurofeedback sessions.
Brain Forest Centers uses this technology as a non invasive aid to ADD, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Autism, PTSD, as well as Athletic and Mental Peak Performance Training. Now we’re all working together to develop a peak performance program for Motorsports.
This week I was able to begin my Neurofeedback training with Kevin. We took a baseline of my brain as it is with a qEEG. A qEEG is used to map, study, and analyze the brain. We plugged my brain into a computer!
I put on a du-rag looking cap with tons of wires running out of it, and into a device that plugged into a computer. Kevin then proceeded to inject the cap with fluid that would amplify my brain waves to be picked up and registered by the sensors in the cap. I was then asked to sit still with my eyes open for 5 minutes. Then the same process with my eyes closed for 5 minutes. Lastly, I was asked to practice on the racing simulator for 10 minutes with the qEEEg connected and reading my brains activity in order to get a baseline for my racing performance. Honestly, I think 10 minutes wasn’t enough, and when we repeat the process we need more time in the simulator in order to get the most effective data.
Once Kevin was able to record all of this data we began the Neurofeedback training. I was asked to sit down and put on a pair of headphones with my eyes closed for over 30 minutes.
As I sat, the headphones would play a series of notes, chords, and pauses in order to encourage my brain toward smoother and more efficient function and discourage it from inefficiency. When my brain was thinking too slowly or too quickly, the headphones would play unpleasant, dissonant notes and chords out of rhythm. When I was in the sweet spot, the headphones would play harmonic and rythmic chords and sequences. Sometimes, there would be silence for minutes at a time. It was very calming and I felt myself falling asleep a number of times, despite the random, and unpleasant noises that were being played. I was lulled into a calmer state.
After the Neurofeedback Training session I was asked once again to get back onto the sim for another 10 minutes. I can tell you that I felt different; however the proof is in the pudding. My telemetry showed smoother, more consistent and progressive inputs across the board. My fastest lap times did not come down, but my average lap time did improve. Granted, 10 minutes was not enough time to show as much data through racing as we might have liked to see. Simulators factor in real world elements like tire temperature, fuel load, track condition and tire wear. With all of these variables, to show more consistent and evident data next time, we will run 30 minute simulator sessions before and after the Neurofeedback Training.
I was also interested in working with Brain Forest Centers to be able to see how my brain compares to other drivers, specifically those who have been racing their whole lives. It takes a week or two for all 180 pages of data to be analyzed so it will be some time before we have all of the results from my most recent testing. Once the data analysis is in, we can see how I stack up to other drivers. Most importantly, we will be able to track my progress through out my growth as a driver and athlete.
Im very excited to continue my work with Kevin at Brain Forest Centers. Kelly Jones has always been a strong supporting force behind me and I am very grateful to Racecraft 1 for affording me this opportunity.
With just a month to go till I get in the car, I am surrounding myself with those that are always willing to help me further my career because they believe in me.