Hit the Gold: The new app that trains mental game in archery

Croatian archers Mario Vavro and Domagoj Buden teamed up with Core Interface, a company of medical doctors, scientists, engineers and sport professionals, to create Hit the Gold – a new, neurofeedback and improvement application for amateur and professional archers.

Neurofeedback, also known as neurotherapy, is the process of visualising real-time displays of brain activity, allowing archers to analyse their mind’s performance during shooting.

Over 200 hours of brain wave recordings, from both elite and amateur archers, investigated by Core Interface highlighted positive and negative patterns in brain activity. Hit the Gold lets archers analyse their own brain waves against an algorithm, developed from the findings, that identifies areas of improvement.

“First I thought it was just another game, but, to be honest, it can’t even be under a game category, as it's an insane way for mind practice,” said Domagoj Buden. “My results suddenly seem more consistent and I feel way more confident.”

The Hit the Gold application has been developed to train, improve and optimize the athletes’ mental skills.

On release, the app will be available only for Windows computers, and works in conjunction with a NeuroSky headset, which reads the brain waves and transfers the data to the app. Archers simulate shooting, like a game, on screen – and the app interprets the data from the simulation.

There are three modes in the application: tournament, practice and improvement.

Users choose the amount of arrows to shoot, and experience the full draw process with each shot, including the pre-draw, aim and release. While visualising their own technique in real life, users simulate their own rhythm, pressing a button to progress the on-screen archer.

At the end of each session, the data is aggregated and ready to be analysed.

The brain wave recordings identify any areas to improve – which can be worked on in the improvement mode, which includes lessons on how to calm down, visualisation (imagining the perfect shot) and – working together – focus and decision.

Tournament mode has users shoot 36 arrows against other computer-generated archers’ scores to simulate the pressure of competition.

The Core Interface team believes the brain is the key to athletic performance.

“After years of practical work with archers, we applied our knowledge into ‘Hit the Gold’ to allow archers to train whenever and wherever they want,” said a Core Interface spokesperson. “It was logical to start working with archers because they understand the importance of the perfect mental state.”

Design of the application was led by neuroscientist Dr Raphael Bene, a member of the Subspecialty Scientific Panel on Higher Cortical Functions of the European Academy of Neurology.

This app can be used at any place and at any time. Athletes and archery federations can pre-order Hit the Gold at the end of June.