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IKKOS Evolution of Sport as a Goonie

When I swam we trudged through the snow 3 miles back and forth from practice wearing newspapers on our feet to keep them dry.  OK…maybe I embellish…but I did walk home 3 miles from a swim practice at 9 years old because the coach told me to do a 200 for warm-up.  I thought it was too far!  I didn’t understand why?  And because ‘I told you so’ wasn’t a good enough reason.

Swimming, really any well crafted story, follows a story arc similar to The Goonies.  So for those of you daunted by (or empowered by) the word ‘periodization’, let me dispel any and all witchcraft or EasternBloc pseudo-science from Rocky 4.  Periodization is a carefully architected athletic experience as foretold by artisan coaches equipped with the tools of science and technology, driven by a reverse-engineered vision of  what is yet to be, and communicated eloquently to all relevant audiences.  The best transcend genres and stereotypes to suspend disbelief and resonate so clearly that they need not be understood completely, only embarked upon and enjoyed by all.



Summer ’14 a group of SwimMAC Team Elite athletes began work on a unique story.  And while they did not have to do the truffle shuffle before practice began, many would likely tell you that reading the whiteboard felt similar.  Practice would have a unique circuit based structure integrating a combined warmup, individualized IKKOS/ resistance/assistance and an event/stroke specific complimentary set.

A single session would always feel familiar to an athlete.  It lacked complexity while
remaining sufficiently complicated to challenge.  While subsequent weeks changed the rythm slightly when the existing pattern became too similar to facilitate continued growth.  The underlying response created complexity while remaining compact.

9 weeks of amazing training flowed out like Chunk’s encapsulated monologue…


initial 3 weeks


middle 3 weeks

final 3 weeks

final 3 weeks








I encourage you to find your own story.  Work on your craft.  And share it with others.  More next week on how we continue to edit and refine our approach at IKKOS to help you do just that.


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IKKOS inspired by the magic of Disney

Now that you are all religiously wearing your IKKOS ‘Black Boxes’ and stylishly display them next to your rapidly growing bounty of trophies, let’s take it back a century and a half to when William James wrote, “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”   While the IKKOS experience is explicitly presented, it is imperative that your working memory of the task and/or skill be vivid.  To replicate expert movement, IKKOS breaks down the sensory components for you in novel, unique, and if we are doing it well…highly personalized components.

I’d like you to imagine if you can….a Walt Disney style flipbook animation.  

Now leap ahead nearly a century so IKKOS can present the same experience magnified (literally).  You see (get the pun…), human visual perception allows for 10 – 12 frames per second to be processed, so ‘slow motion’ gives you more opportunity to gather relevant information that you may otherwise ‘miss’ in real time.


Already bored with reading something when you could be doing IKKOS?  Well head on over to your local coffee shop for a moment, grab your favorite cup, and listen to the bustle.  ‘Conversational noise’ actually allows us to focus almost as if by happenstance.  Similarly, IKKOS binaural beats are at a specifically tuned pitch and frequency directly reflecting the presented motor imagery and the ideal learning environment.  When coupled with earbuds and the beats barely audible, they maximize the IKKOS experience.  Researchers have demonstrated “…that exposure to an acoustic stimulus can facilitate learning when encountered outside of the time of practice on a perceptual task.  By properly using additional stimulation one may markedly improve the efficiency of perceptual training regimens.”3

And if that weren’t enough in and of itself, the sense of time may actually require a brain energy needssense of space.  Action observation of an IKKOS movement is typically 6-10 seconds in duration.  Very few shorter, some a bit longer.  This micro difference for a ‘clip’ creates a wider variance in the overall time spent viewing.  But unequivocally, repetition is the key variable to balancing performance with fatigue in regard to a specific learned movement.  So, much like physically overwhelming a movement later can cause it to breakdown.2; not engaging meaningfully in the learning process inhibits the potential.

Lastly, movement, particularly expert movement, is rhythmic and precise.  To create a solid foundation for motor development, IKKOS content stacks sequenced skills to present tasks as a piece of the greater whole.  And as physiological adaptation requires effective stressors, balance the presentation and implementation accordingly.  If your performance meets/exceeds expectations, congratulations you should skip a stacked skill.  But if you are unsure of your abilities, experts have been known to be able to predict performance from mechanics.  Expertise requires elevating challenges.  So choose another skill and/or task to master.  You might even be happier for it.1   Next week…periodization

1.  Working memory training improves emotional states of healthy individuals.  Takeuchi H, Taki Y, Nouchi R, Hashizume H, Sekiguchi A, Kotozaki Y, Nakagawa S, Miyauchi CM, Sassa Y, Kawashima R.  Front Syst Neurosci. 2014 Oct 16; 8:200.

2.  Fatigue-induced increase in intracortical communication between mid/anterior insular and motor cortex during cycling exercise.  Hilty L, Langer N, Pascual-Marqui R, Boutellier U, Lutz K.  Eur J Neurosci. 2011 Dec;34 (12):2035-42.

3.  Enhancing Perceptual Learning by Combining Practice with Periods of Additional Sensory Stimulation  Beverly A. Wright, Andrew T. Sabin, Yuxuan Zhang, Nicole Marrone, and Matthew B. Fitzgerald.

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The ‘Depth’ of IKKOS

One of the first questions we typically get about IKKOS is ‘Cant I just use YouTube?’ or ‘Do I have to use the VR headset?’  And the answer is… ‘Of course and no.  We have just seen IKKOS to be a more effective and efficient learning experience than conventional teaching.  And like any tool that increases communication depth and speed, it is an invaluable resource in any coaches and/or athlete’s repertoire’

Huh?  Sure Charlie won a gold medal.  Mark made the USA National Team.  Eric broke an American Record training 2-3x week for 45 minutes.  Fast rising NCAA teams send out Vines.  But come on…  Why?

Every Sunday I will deconstruct precepts of IKKOS that make it compelling.  This week…2

Since conscious awareness of this precision could help guide the planning of motor action, the hypothesis provides a functional account for the important secondary phenomenal characteristics associated with stereopsis: the impression of interactability and realness.2

Depth (stereopsis) is determined by the different views of the two eyes. By creating the perception of depth we increase the opportunity for plasticity as the brain interprets the presented images.

In a study regarding plasticity for individuals effected by amblyopiaThe recovery in visual acuity that we observed is at least 5-fold faster than would be expected from occlusion therapy in childhood amblyopia.3

Amazing right?  I know we at IKKOS are geniuses of the highest regard.  But before your deafening applause overwhelms us mere mortals, we, like many before, are simply innovating with an intention to impact application of theory to performance. 3Next week, I’ll discuss how IKKOS content expands upon the hardware of its predecessors to deliver pertinent sensory information unique to specific motor movements.  This indicates that some brain areas of the visual cortex are relatively multimodal and may be recruited for depth processing via a sense other than vision.1


  1. Cross-modal activation of visual cortex during depth perception using auditory substitution of vision.  Renier L, Collignon O, Poirier C, Tranduy D, Vanlierde A, Bol A, Veraart C, De Volder AG.
  2. Toward a new theory of stereopsis.  Vishwanath D.   Psychol Rev. 2014 Apr;121(2):151-78.
  3. Video-game play induces plasticity in the visual system of adults with amblyopia.  Li RW, Ngo C, Nguyen J, Levi DM.  Neuroimage. 2005 Jun;26(2):573-80.