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Updated: Sep 27, 2018

One of the most important ways to your basketball talent is to know how the brain functions. Improvement can be more rapid and transformational with an intentional plan. Be smart and take time to understand how you can build your talent faster and wiser.

When You First Learn A Skill

When you first learn a skill, your brain is extremely active in regions which trigger motor movement and there is a great deal of energy and effort taking place. When you have reached a level of skill mastery whether it is with dribbling, shooting or other basketball motor mechanics, the brain has become very quiet in areas that were previously very involved. The brain is actually doing less which allows you to access other regions of the brain such as problem solving, pattern recognition and other more complex and advanced skills.

Beware of the Slowest Ways to Build Skills

Unfortunately, one of the slowest ways to build skill is through games. Young players spend hours in the gym playing 5 on 5 and therefore are literally slowing down the speed toward skill mastery. The greater work would be to put time into the foundation of the fundamentals. This fundamental skill work will rapidly improve the skill work with the ball and free the mind to be able to move toward understanding the game at a deeper and more intelligent level.

Narrow the Brain's Focus

Eliminating complexity helps build talent faster as well. Playing one on one, two on two reduces the variables and allows your brain to parse out the complexity of all 10 players on the court.

Place Enough Demand on the Brain

Balance the struggle your brain need to improve. It should be pushed but not overly taxed. Minor dynamic variations are necessary for change and development. Research on the brain shows that doing a task exactly the same way over and over again doesn’t make large improvements in a skill as fast as performing a skill with slight variations. The brain needs a form of stimulus that keeps it’s learning intense and responsive. If you start to check out and go into auto pilot, the learning is lost. Conversely, if you don’t use repetition in your learning your progress will be impeded. Balance between accurate repetitions and add minor dynamic variations such as practice your figure eight drill and get to 20 perfect reps, next close your eyes and get the 20 reps perfect with eyes shut, progress to dribbling on gravel or an uneven surface-- These reps are pushing you to master the ball.

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