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What is Brain-Centred Training and Why is it imperative?

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There is an abundance of research that is revealing incredible understanding about the brain, but often research is oversimplified. It is also common for people to begin viewing scientific findings as undeniable ‘facts’ instead of complex and evolving theories. Neuromyths begin to form in the general public and at schools, and we end up believing a lie.

A pervasive example of a neuromyth is the left-right brain neuromyth. It is scientifically impossible to say that the left brain is logical and the right brain is creative. There are certainly differences between the left and right hemispheres, but they have to work together to provide meaning. If, for example, you were to look at the brain scans of a mathematician and an artist, you wouldn’t see a reliance on the mathematician’s left hemisphere or a reliance on the artist’s right hemisphere (1)

We believe that the brain is brilliantly complex and should be studied to better understand how it best assimilates information and functions optimally. Brain-centred training takes these findings and applies them to training methods in order to maximise the brain’s ability to learn and grow, therefore benefiting each individual.

The Brain is Brilliantly Complex

We are incredible beings designed with incredible complexity, so it is imperative that we don’t go about our understanding of the brain with a reductionist attitude.

When our minds receive information through the senses there is a process that takes place that depends on multiple factors. These factors affect the way we learn. They include, but are not limited to; our attitudes, environment, memories of the same topic of knowledge, context, and the whole personality of the person (curiosity, interests, self-confidence, patience, emotional control, attention, readiness for cooperation, motivation etc.) (2).

At IQ Football, we believe that by acknowledging the learning process’ depth of complexity, a holistic method of training can be taken into account. For example, if a child struggles to concentrate and his emotional state is negative, no matter how hard he tries to focus during an activity that facilitates concentration, it will be impeded.

Our Methods

IQ Football’s brain-centred football training uses a combination of research from professionals in the fields of neuroscience, such as Dr Caroline Leaf, professionals in brain-centred and creative football coaching, such as Michel Bruyninckx and Matthias Nowak and research on early childhood development and mentoring. It is now a well known fact in professional football that coaches can no longer only focus on the physical abilities of players. We believe in building a mentally strong player from a young age.

“Potential in the further development of football is clearly ‘in the brain’ and not in the legs of the players.”

Matthias Nowak

Research in neuroscience shows us that intelligence is not fixed. The more we think deeply about what we are learning, the more intelligent we become (3). Our brains have the ability to change continuously throughout our lives; brains are malleable. This is incredibly empowering to know. This foundational knowledge is the place from where our brain-centred training stems.

Research in neuroscience also shows us the ‘brain-boost’ that comes from building positive thoughts, and eventually positive mindsets. We believe that the football field is a great place to begin instilling these kinds of mindsets.

Our training incorporates cognitive football drills and methods as well as ‘IQF Tools’ that have shown to improve the mental processes of a player, including concentration, spatial awareness and problem solving. These drills have been developed over years, from a combination of neuroscientists and football coaches.

By using the player-centred model, we help unlock the player’s confidence through guided discovery, using the game as the teacher and small-sided games to increase the number of decision-making processes (and therefore potential development).

Finally, with the understanding that it is scientifically incorrect to place a reductionist method on a person, we see the football field as a great environment to help guide and develop a child holistically. Each child is uniquely intelligent, and we’re all about teaching them this until they realise the immense power that their minds contain through the choices that they make.



Brain, Brain-Based Training, Brain-centred Training, Neuroplasticity, Player-centred Model

Sean Szabo

Recognised as a leading brain-centred football coach in Gauteng, Sean Szabo is an English FA qualified coach who has worked internationally assisting player’s motor and technical football skills, as well as their cognitive development on and off the field. IQ Football was founded in 2015 by Sean as an amalgamation of his passion for football coaching, mentoring, and brain-centred research.


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