No More Dumb Jock Excuse: Playing Sports May Make You Smarter | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Study: Playing Sports May Make You Smarter

February 13, 2013

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick finished in the top 1% of his high school class and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics.

What if it turned out that sports weren't just good for your muscles, but also your brain? A recent report released by Scientific Reports Journal suggests that sports can actually improve brain function and make athletes smarter.

The abilities professional athletes display on the field have always puzzled University of Montreal researcher Jocelyn Faubert. "It can't be just physical, there's something about their brains," Faubert said in a statement to LiveScience.

To investigate, Faubert developed the 3D-MOT procedure, a complex motion system that measures the mind's ability to process an action scene. To test it out, Faubert took professional athletes from the English Premier League, National Hockey League and French Top 14 Rugby League, along with 173 elite amateur athletes from the NCAA and European Olympic Training Center, and pitted them against 33 non-athlete university students. The study found that the athletes' brains had greater visual perceptual range and possessed more cognitive abilities than their non-athlete peers.

"Clearly, mental processing and learning skills are key to the excellent performance of the professional athletes," Faubert says.  "Although the context had nothing to do with any specific sport, we found that professional athletes were able to process the visual scenes much better than amateur athletes who were, in turn, better than the students."

What's the takeaway from this? All the time you spend preparing and practicing to get better at your sport on the field may in fact help you off the field. While you still need to study for that math test and hit the weights if you want to become a college athlete, know that your training is doing more than improving your physical prowess and is improving you mental power, too.

Get more out of your mental training with Boot Camp for the Brain.

Topics: NEWS
Samantha Jones
- Samantha Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communication and information sciences. Throughout her scholastic career,...
Samantha Jones
- Samantha Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communication and information sciences. Throughout her scholastic career,...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Tips to Be a Better Leader

4 Ways to Turn Mental Toughness Into Physical Toughness

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Visualize Yourself Winning, and You're Halfway There

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How Mentally Tough Are You?

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

A Coach Describes What It

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Make Goals, Not Deals

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit