Thursday June 16th, 2016

Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry overall at SportTechie.com.

In the midst of two major ongoing soccer tournaments, the Copa America and the Euro 2016, there are surely a host of young players wondering what it will take for them to play on the same stage as many of these professional players.

Now, Nike has given a tangible exercise for anyone to do via their Nike Soccer app—brain training. Created with the help of digital agency AKQA, Nike added the “Pro Genius” aspect to their existing app. The Nike Soccer app already features an array of physical, tactical and technical drills for anybody looking to practice the beautiful game.

So far, the Pro Genius portion of the app has five different activities for the brain—counter attack, priming, visualization, self-talk and cross anticipation. Only the counter attack and priming modes are actual training exercises that require the app.

[youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ytv_D02-Q84]

Counter attack is a game designed to test reflexes and how fast a player can pick out a pass. It shows video of players making runs amidst defenders and the user has to tap the best pass to get the counter attack going. The mode keeps track of how quickly a player makes each decision, analyzing that with a cumulative score at the end.

Priming is a mental warmup exercise that is most likely best for killing some time before a game. It is essentially a series of mental reflex tests where the user does a number of touch commands around quickly appearing bubbles.

Visualization and self-talk are just two different videos starring professionals that touch on key mental exercises to keep the brain ready for a match. Cross anticipation is still under construction.

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While this may not instantly give anyone the split-second decision making of Andrea Pirlo, Pro Genius does give players the reps that they might not be getting on a daily basis. They can practice the same skills without any strain on their body.

Check out Nike’s promotional video below for Pro Genius mental training, starring a mass of Nike sponsored soccer stars.

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