Mike Bryan is the right-handed side of the most successful doubles team in the history of tennis, the Bryan Brothers. With Sunday’s remarkable win at the 2014 US Open, the duo took their 16th Grand Slam and an unprecedented 100th career win as a team. While their preparation for the event was of course coordinated, it is also distinct. Mike employs a variety of physical, nutritional, and mental training tools, and began using Versus in 2010 to improve his mental performance on the court. While the early training targeted his brain’s ability to focus even more intensely and for longer periods of time, his training regimen for this particular tournament was designed to refine his brain’s ability to recover.
“I’m kind of a high-strung type A personality. I’m always thinking about the next match,” Mike Bryan continued, “this definitely helped me relax and actually sleep better before big matches, which was key. When you sleep better, it helps you recover and you can focus.”
Fine Tuning His Ability to Mentally Recover Between Matches
Mike Bryan Versus SenseScore
His SenseScore, comprised of specific brain metrics associated with a number of key high-performance indicators, already demonstrates that his Stress Recovery score is nearly off the charts. But like many great athletes, Mike is committed to pursuing perfection in all areas of his game—including his strengths.
“Mike is a very engaged person, and his brain reflects that. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with his ability to turn his mind off after competition, he’s simply working on mastering that skill,” said SenseLabs’ Chief Science Officer, Leslie Sherlin, PhD.
Mental Speed and Accuracy Testing
To gauge an athlete’s mental processing speed and accuracy, Versus measures brain activity during a baseline period and during a simple video game test. Not only did Mike make 0 errors (the average across high-performers in our BrainBank is 3), but his reaction speed actually increased throughout the test. This is further indication of a highly-engaged brain, with incredible impulse control, and it helped tailor Mike’s brain training for the Open.
“I’M KIND OF A HIGH-STRUNG TYPE A PERSONALITY. I’M ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT MATCH. THIS DEFINITELY HELPED ME RELAX AND ACTUALLY SLEEP BETTER BEFORE BIG MATCHES, WHICH WAS KEY. WHEN YOU SLEEP BETTER, IT HELPS YOU RECOVER AND YOU CAN FOCUS.”
– MIKE BRYAN
20-Minute Daily Training Sessions
Mike’s training consisted of quick 20-minute sessions, done every other day, during the weeks leading up to the event. In the training, Mike learns how to control the electrical signals in his brain associated with a high-degree of engagement by playing games. When he is relaxed, the Versus headset reads these patterns and rewards him by moving an object in the game (a car, for example) forward. The training strengthens his ability to turn these patterns on, and off, when he needs to. In Mike’s case, it happened each time he stepped off the court last week to rest up before the next big match.