top of page

Quarterback on Netflix: What Is Kirk Cousins Using to Train His Brain and How Neurofeedback Helps

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

✎ Written by: Dubravka Rebic ✓ Fact-checked by: Kaija Sander, Ph.D.

Original image by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  • In the fourth episode of Netflix's Quarterback, Kirk Cousins mentions training his brain with a remote neurofeedback platform, Myndlift, as part of his regimen.

  • Kirk Cousins applies conductive paste to the electrode, connects it to his Muse headset to monitor central brain activity, and starts streaming a show. His mobile screen dims or brightens depending on his brain activity, which allows him to see or hear his brain activity in real time.

  • Neurofeedback is brain training that utilizes real-time feedback, often with electrodes placed on the head to monitor brainwave activity, helping individuals regulate their brain functions.

  • Neurofeedback can help athletes improve their focus, self-control over their mood, sleep quality, balance and coordination, as well as decrease reaction time.

Despite being released a little over 24 hours ago, Netflix's Quarterback has swiftly claimed the #2 spot for the most watched shows in the US on the platform today. The docuseries follows the lives of three quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota, giving fans an inside look at in-game action as well as their preparation and work-life balance.


In the fourth episode, Kirk Cousins, the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, tells us his secret to performing at his peak. Apart from what one would expect – prioritizing proper nutrition, healthy sleep patterns, and rigorous training – Cousins mentions training his brain with neurofeedback as part of his regimen.


It’s no secret that quarterbacks are faced with high-stress situations where they need to act fast while maintaining their focus and precision. And this is no easy feat. But by training his brain with neurofeedback, Cousins is able to improve his attention and self-control over mood and decrease reaction time so he can act when he needs to and how he needs to.


Kirk Cousins Uses Myndlift for Brain Training With Neurofeedback

In the fourth episode of Quarterback, Kirk Cousins comfortably sits in his car and streams a show on his phone while wearing a headset that measures his brainwave activity.


He's doing neurofeedback using Myndlift – a remote neurofeedback app, while also getting additional supervision and guidance through Neuropeak Pro.


Neuropeak Pro is a Myndlift partner that trains athletes to achieve peak performance by uniquely combining Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback training with neurofeedback. Together they've worked with hundreds of professional athletes and continue to forge an exciting path in the neuro-athletics category.


Just like Cousins, you can also train your brain by getting Myndlift's full program, including the Muse headset and the electrode. Get your plan by following this link.


Kirk Cousins puts conductive paste on the electrode for improved signal, connects the electrode to the Muse headset to measure activity in the central areas of his brain, and starts streaming a show. His mobile screen dims or brightens depending on his brain activity, which allows him to see or hear his brain activity in real time. That's how his brain learns to self-regulate.

What Is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is a type of brain training that uses real-time feedback to enable you to regulate your brain activity. This is typically done through the use of sensors, called electrodes, placed on the head to measure electrical activity in the brain (brainwaves).


This electrical activity is associated with your different levels of consciousness, including anxiety, alertness, sleep, or focus, and it can provide insights about your current mental state.


The feedback is provided by visual cues (like a game or video) or through auditory cues (such as music or sound). Just like Cousins shows us in episode 4 of Quarterback, when your brain is not in the target state – whether you’re unfocused, anxious, stressed, etc. – the volume may decrease or the images on the screen may become less focused or more difficult to see.


On the other hand, if your brain activity is within the right range, the volume will go up, or the screen will become brighter. This allows you to see or hear your brain activity in real time.


As a result, with practice and consistency, your brain will learn to associate the target brain activity with the reward, thereby regulating it to be in an optimal state – to improve focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and even enhance physical performance.


If you already have a Muse headband, you can download the free version of the Myndlift app for iOS or Android and try out the neurofeedback brain training experience now.


How Neurofeedback Helps Athletes


Most sports, including American football, rely heavily on mental performance and steady emotions. Players must not only be in peak physical performance, they need to make thousands of split-second decisions that require calmness, clarity, and focus as well.

Here are some ways that neurofeedback can help you become a better athlete:

1) Improves focus: Neurofeedback can help enhance the brainwaves associated with alertness and focus (beta and gamma).

2) Improves self-control over your mood: By stabilizing dysregulated brain patterns that are often associated with stress, anxiety and depression, neurofeedback can help decrease distraction and improve sports performance. As a result, it might be easier for athletes to make high-demand decisions.

3) Decreases reaction time: Training with neurofeedback has been shown to positively impact sports performance by decreasing reaction time and improving the decision-making process.

4) Helps with balance and coordination: Neurofeedback can help improve both static and dynamic body movements that are required for good coordination and balance.

5) Improves sleep quality: This is done by enhancing slower frequency brain waves, like delta and alpha, to promote relaxation and sleep.


Conclusion


Just as physical training aims to strengthen the body, peak performance neurofeedback training aims to strengthen your mind and regulate your brainwave patterns so that you can perform at the top of your game.

However, brain training requires consistency and practice. So, stay dedicated, enjoy the process, and be patient as you watch your well-being improve over time. With neurofeedback training, you can reach your full potential, just like top NFL players do!


Myndlift provides a personalized expert-guided brain training program that can help you achieve your goals towards reaching peak brain performance. Check if you’re eligible to kick start your journey with us for better brain health from here.

 

About the author:

Dubravka Rebic puts a lot of time and energy into researching and writing in order to help create awareness and positive change in the mental health space. From poring over scientific studies to reading entire books in order to write a single content piece, she puts in the hard work to ensure her content is of the highest quality and provides maximum value.

About the reviewer:

Kaija Sander is a cognitive neuroscientist and scientific consultant for Myndlift. She holds a BSc in Biomedical Science with a specialization in Neuroscience and Mental Health from Imperial College London and a PhD in Neuroscience from McGill University. Her doctoral research focused on brain connectivity relating to second language learning success. She is passionate about the broader applications of science to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

 

References:


Azarpaikan, A., Torbati, H. T., & Sohrabi, M. (2014). Neurofeedback and physical balance in parkinson’s patients. Gait & Posture, 40(1), 177–181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2014.03.179

Brito, M. A., Fernandes, J. R., Esteves, N. S., Müller, V. T., Alexandria, D. B., Pérez, D. I., Slimani, M., Brito, C. J., Bragazzi, N. L., & Miarka, B. (2022). The effect of neurofeedback on The reaction time and cognitive performance of athletes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2022.868450

C;, B. S. (2017, November 13). Neurofeedback and biofeedback for mood and anxiety disorders: A review of clinical effectiveness and guidelines [internet]. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30299634/

Dupee, M., & Werthner, P. (2011). Managing the stress response: The use of biofeedback and neurofeedback with olympic athletes. Biofeedback, 39(3), 92–94. https://doi.org/10.5298/1081-5937-39.3.02

Gong, A., Gu, F., Nan, W., Qu, Y., Jiang, C., & Fu, Y. (2021). A review of Neurofeedback Training for Improving Sport Performance from the perspective of User Experience. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.638369

Hillard, B., El-Baz, A. S., Sears, L., Tasman, A., & Sokhadze, E. M. (2013). Neurofeedback training aimed to improve focused attention and alertness in children with ADHD. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 44(3), 193–202. https://doi.org/10.1177/1550059412458262

Jung, N., Wranke, C., Hamburger, K., & Knauff, M. (2014). How emotions affect logical reasoning: Evidence from experiments with mood-manipulated participants, Spider Phobics, and people with exam anxiety. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00570

Lambert-Beaudet, F., Journault, W.-G., Rudziavic Provençal, A., & Bastien, C. H. (2021). Neurofeedback for insomnia: Current state of research. World Journal of Psychiatry, 11(10), 897–914. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v11.i10.897

Luijmes, R. E., Pouwels, S., & Boonman, J. (2016). The effectiveness of neurofeedback on cognitive functioning in patients with alzheimer’s disease: Preliminary results. Neurophysiologie Clinique/Clinical Neurophysiology, 46(3), 179–187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neucli.2016.05.069

Marzbani, H., Marateb, H., & Mansourian, M. (2016). Methodological note: Neurofeedback: A comprehensive review on system design, methodology and clinical applications. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Journal, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.15412/j.bcn.03070208

Moldofsky, H. (1995). Sleep and the immune system. International Journal of Immunopharmacology, 17(8), 649–654. https://doi.org/10.1016/0192-0561(95)00051-3

Puderbaugh, M., & Emmady, P. D. (2022, May 8). Neuroplasticity. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32491743/

Siengsukon, C. F., Al-dughmi, M., & Stevens, S. (2017). Sleep health promotion: Practical information for physical therapists. Physical Therapy, 97(8), 826–836. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzx057


Comments


The latest brain health news and tips, delivered to your inbox.

bottom of page