AC Milan’s ‘Mind Room’: The story behind an innovative psychology lab
Posted On May 9, 2022

By:  John Nassoori, May 9, 2022

Article Notes:

Italian football’s first psychology laboratory was at AC Milan.  It was 1986 and before any other club in Serie A employed a sport psychologist.  Built by sport psychologist Dr. Bruno De Michelis and running through his tenure to 2009, the ‘Mind Room’ as it was dubbed, underpinned a storied 21 major trophies in the 23 years it was operational.  In 2009 DeMichelis brought the Mind Room to Chelsea FC (the season they won both the Premier League title and the FA Cup).  With the use of biofeedback devices, The Mind Room combined stress relief therapy, neuroscience, and cognitive training.  The Mind Room provided the opportunity to provide objective data to a player’s state of mind.  Not only that, but it was also used to train reaction speeds, which provided the opportunity for players to play longer, including Paolo Maldini at 41.  Another aspect was injury reduction, a scoring system combining physiological data like HRV with GPS got the club proactively ahead of injuries and was credited for a 91% reduction in soft tissue injuries.  Prior to AC Milan, the only real forerunner of a similarly successful cognitive training lab was Brazil’s 1958 World Cup winning team and its psychologist Joao Carvalhaes.