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"Mental is to Physical as 5 is to 1"

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"Mental is to Physical as 5 is to 1"

Bobby Knight said this years ago during a successful run as the basketball coach at Indiana University and it still holds true today (although the ratio has since been lowered, the principle remains the same). The number of questions asked regarding how to improve a player's vertical jump still outnumbers all other questions by at least the same margin. Does this indicate that players are focusing on the wrong things? To a great extent, the answer is a resounding "yes"!

The tough thing about mental/visual training is that, without some type of feedback, you never really know if the players are seriously doing it. Visualization, for example, is apparently effective, but if you tell a player to do it, does he really?

I firmly believe that the best shooters (given a proper release) are the ones who can really zero in on a specific point on the rim. A good method is to suggest that players walk around the gym to quickly glance at the rim and sight their target spot (at the front of the rim, usually). This can be an effective method, but the trouble is, how do you know that your players are really doing it?

How do you prepare your players for the mental part of the game? Some coaches have playbooks and some watch a lot of video, have classroom chalk-talks, or spend time discussing scenarios. A good suggestion is to use a 3 x 5 "cheat sheet" with play calls and brief descriptions. Pass them out at the beginning of every road trip and suggest that players visualize themselves executing the play and concentrate on the timing and positioning of the other nine players on the floor. All visualization should produce a positive result.

Basketball intelligence doesn't just happen--it can be developed. It is the coach's job to provide the proper environment and supply the tools for that to occur.



4/25/2010 4:54:56 PM
Finlay said:

It's 4 to 1


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