By Sasha Fields
Gainesville Today, October 2011
There is a defining moment for every athlete. To the average bystander, it goes by with the blink of an eye. But for the athlete, time seems to stand still. Whether it’s the tennis player deciding at what angle to hit the ball or the baseball outfielder gauging where the ball will land, it’s crucial to the game.
For more than 25 years, Diane Daniels, Director of Brain Works, was in the educational system. But it was the book, “The Mozart Effect”, which led to a life-changing career move. In 2001, Daniels opened Brain Works. Her combination of auditory and visual-motor-balance training has created an unbelievable change for her clients – from toddlers to adults.
Participants listen to specific modulated music for three to five days a week and combine the listening with the visual-motor-balance activities. With neurons firing in the brain in so many areas at once, over time they make new pathways that are beneficial for academics, attention, memory, visual perception, motor control and much more.
Neeko Gainey, a freshman at The Rock School of Gainesville, trained at Brain Works last spring. As a JV basketball player and member of a Gainesville AAU travel basketball team, he noticed that his balance, peripheral vision and depth perception improved immensely.
“It helped me with my vision on the court,” said Gainey. “I can see everyone on the court without turning my head. The training helped with my attention span in school, too.
His mother, Catrina Gainey, explained that she noticed he was able to do highly skilled moves on the basketball court that he had never attempted before. More than anything, the proud mom stated that it’s helped him in the classroom.
Daniels explained that different frequencies in the music stimulate different areas of the brain and body. But it’s the combination of the auditory and physical training that makes the difference for athletes.
“Both the auditory and the physical activities help with precision of movement,” said Daniels. “Each stimulates the brain to quickly analyze a situation and make a fast decision.”
Will McCrea, a P.K. Yonge senior, experienced similar results as an outfielder on the baseball team.
“I attended Brain Works for my attention span, and it worked. My grades increased by a full letter grade in each class, and my attention span for lectures increased,” said McCrea. “Surprisingly, my perception of distance improved in baseball. I was also able to read the spin on the ball and judge which direction it would go.”
Daniels explained that low frequencies in her music stimulate the vestibular system, which includes the ear’s semicircular canals and the muscles in the body – including the eye muscles. This helps with spatial orientation and movement.
Carly Asse, owner of Zen Fitness in Gainesville and tournament tennis player, first tried the Brain Works program to improve his tennis game.
“After three weeks, my serve is better than it was when I played in college,” said Asse. “My judgment of the ball has improved a lot, and I can maintain my focus throughout a whole match. A guy I play who has been an even match for me, I have now beaten easily three times in a row.”
In addition to the athletic program, Brain Works’ unique programs help ADHD, attention span, memory, auditory processing, sensory integration, verbal expression, social awareness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, college/graduate entrance exams, motor control, stroke, brain injury, concussion, verbal expression and mental clarity.