5 ways to improve reaction time

Shortening reaction time helps improve virtually everything - from playing sports to driving safely to even saving someone’s life! In the sports’ world it’s especially crucial, and could dictate whether an athlete wins or loses a game or competition. The definition of reaction time is the time between a stimulus and a response. Essentially, this gap is the sum of the time it takes for a person to recognize the stimuli, process it and select a response.

A multitude of factors can influence reaction time, including the type of stimuli (visual, auditory, sensory, etc.), the ability to recognize the stimulus (amongst perhaps distracting stimuli), age, health factors, substance use and more. However, one can do certain things to help shorten their reaction time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but use some of these tips and you’ll be able to see substantial results.  

Reaction Training

Reaction training is going to be your most effective option for shortening reaction time. This consists of exercises that train your brain to generate the optimal response to the correct stimulus as quickly as possible. The range of activities that can fall under reaction training are infinite, as long as they include a cognitive challenge.

For even more effective reaction training, combine the cognitive challenge with a physical challenge. For example, a reaction training drill isn’t just about dribbling and shooting a basket, but dribbling until you recognize a signal and shoot a basket as fast as possible.

BlazePod’s amazing reaction training system provides a wide selection of activities that combine cognitive and physical elements, and even specific skills from different sports fields. Their flashing visual cues are designed as the perfect stimuli to generate tangible results quickly and shorten reaction time. You can also track your results with real-time data to monitor progress and improve every session.  

Play sports - especially team ball sports 

Sports and physical fitness improves your reaction time by getting your body in shape and sharpening your mind. Team ball sports are especially effective because although they have a strict set of game rules, there are a lot of variables that a player has to deal with in real-time. You have to be super aware of your teammates and surroundings, and react quickly and efficiently when an opportunity arises. Practicing the ability to remain focused amongst distractions (which enhances focus and attention skills), and execute certain actions (shooting a basket, for example) when you recognize certain cues (let’s say, the defense has moved up court) will definitely help shorten your reaction time. 

Meditate

Meditation helps sharpen the senses, calm the mind and relax the muscles. Being tense and having stiff muscles slows reactions, whereas deep breathing and a relaxed yet alert disposition will make you react quicker. Meditation and mindfulness help cultivate this relaxed yet alert state, and can clear your head to facilitate fast, sharp reactions, thus shortening your reaction time. Try guiding a relaxing and focusing meditation right before your athletes compete or step on the field.

Play video games and Esports

Gaming entails a lot of cognitive processing: focus, recognition, decision making and quick reactions. Contemporary action video games require players to rapidly process sensory information, make decisions and carry out quick responses. In addition, delayed responses may have severe consequences (player’s can “die” or lose the game), making them all the more alert and driven. Esports focus directly on the reactions needed in real-life sports games as they simulate multiple or single player sports games.

Some methods of reaction training, such as BlazePod, utilize the gamification element to incentivize players to work harder. They feel that their training is a game, so they “forget” how challenging it actually is. 

Hydrate and get enough sleep

Being sleep deprived or dehydrated can make you sluggish, and have a huge effect on reflexes and reaction time. The brain actually shrinks when it’s dehydrated, so it’s super important to drink enough water every day (at least half a gallon). As for sleep, your body has to recharge in order to function properly, so a good night’s sleep of approximately 8 hours can make you sharper and faster. 

These are the main ways to improve your athletes’ reaction time. Learn how to strip reaction time down to the bare minimum with BlazePod’s advanced reaction training system and method.

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