Concord Ca, – Aaron Thigpen , Gamespeed Sports performance
Years ago I had a ball player named Johnny Ash first as a highschooler at Bishop ODowd then as a collegiate at Stanford, then as a minor leaguer (Astros). He was a solid athlete who worked hard, wasnt the most physically gifted but he put in the right work. However, Johnny was clutch, probably the most clutch hitter I’ve seen. Over his careeer I watched him be in pressure situations and come up with not just a hit but the right hit (College World Series). Was it luck? How did he do it?
He and his father Wil intently worked on scenario based hitting mentally and physically practicing a whole range of scenarios and pressure situations to elicit the proper mental and physical response at game time. In his case it wasnt luck, it was skill.
It’s game time you scan the court or field. Teammates and opposition dot the landscape. What do you do? Can you anticipate your next move? your opponents? The mind has to process in a split second what the appropriate response needs to be. Is it luck, instinct or purposeful training? I think its some of the latter. In any event it can be improved.
Steps to Improving Game Time Decision Making Skills
- Quality over quantity – Don’t chase reps. Dedicate some practice time to scenario based training.
- Slow your reps down – Work at half speed, break the scenario or movements down into steps or phases. This will allow you to work through any kinks in your processing or mechanics.
- Solo Train – Embrace the power of training by yourself. Quiet thoughtful practice alone can allow you to key in on the process without the distraction of others. You figure it out.
- Dialogue- If you are training with a coach or peer talk through the process, the options, and if your response was the best one.
- Visualization – Working through it mentally before trying to do it physically can ingraine the proper response, allow you to get more quality reps and see numerous outcomes.
- Play – Not a competitive game but casual play. This generation of athelte just goes to structured practices they don’t spend time throwing pop ups to themselves, field tennis balls off their garge door, play horse, cut and dodge imaginary defenders in the backyard. Play integrates your imagination which can in turn broaden your mind to different possibilites enhancing and adding to your repeptoire of movements.
In sports making the right or wrong decision can be the difference to winning and losing. You have to mentally prepare as much as physically prepare.
See how we can intergrate Decision Making Performance into your training regiment. Call Gamespeed Sports Performance at 925 513-8676.