Can Brain Science Boost Soccer Performance? OIST and FC Ryukyu Team Up to Find Out
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Ryukyu Football Club Co., Ltd. (FC Ryukyu) have today launched a new partnership, aimed at understanding how athletes’ minds behave during team sports. The insights into brain science gained during the project may one day con-tribute to improving the performance of professional athletes in team sports.
The partnership will last one year from December 10, 2021 until December 9, 2022 and may be extended.
In the pilot project of this collaboration, a PhD student from the Embodied Cognitive Science Unit, led by Tom Froese, an Assistant Professor at OIST, will be studying levels of ‘synchrony’ between the FC Ryukyu soccer players. By focusing on how they time their breathing and physical movement, the student will determine whether ‘synchrony’ occurs while team members play a soccer game, and if so, how it affects their teamwork. The student will then invite the athletes to their laboratory at OIST and measure their brainwaves while they perform tasks similar to playing soccer, to study how this “synchrony’ may be reflected in their brain activity. Through measuring these different levels of synchrony, the student hopes to identify ways of achieving better-coordinated set pieces, such as free-kicks and corners, and im-prove communication between players.
Gil Granot Mayer, Executive Vice President of Technology Development and Innovation at OIST com-mented on this collaboration: "We are grateful to FC Ryukyu for agreeing to take part in this unique re-search project. We hope that this will lead to a variety of research projects and promote further collaboration."
Atsushi Ogawa, President of FC Ryukyu, said: “"We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this re-search, which is unprecedented anywhere in the world, right here in Okinawa. In modern soccer, ele-ments of brain science such as ‘cognition’ and ‘intuition’ are said to be very important and have much scope for improvement. We are very excited about the collaboration between OIST and FC Ryukyu to help advance research in this field."