Jim Plocki has coached numerous individual National Champions, as well as, All-America, All-Big Ten, All-Academic, Olympian, Heisman Trophy, Hobey Baker Trophy, NFL, NHL and NBA athletes. Jim has been a part of many Big Ten, CCHA, Bowl, NIT, Final Four, Frozen Four, Super Six and College Softball World Series teams. In 2001 Jim was awarded an Honorary M from the Michigan Athletic Department for his dedicated service to Michigan Athletics. Jim gives us insight into preparation for basketball.
Communication can separate good from great. A team must not only listen to the coach, but communicate instructions with one another, everyone must be on the same page. If you are tired while competing you still must concentrate and make the correct decisions. Conditioning is important, yet games can easily be won or lost by an athlete taking the right or wrong step.
In 1958 in a paper presented in the Journal Psychological Review argued the number of objects the average person could hold in memory was 7 +/- 2, they dubbed this Miller’s Law. Since its publication there has been a tremendous amount of research on the limits of cognition. I know this as a coach, remembering which foot one should touch a line 6 times in a row while competing to make a designated time is extremely difficult.
Pre-Season Basketball Conditioning: Cognitive Court Sprints
Run this drill on a basketball court.
Each player starts with both feet behind one end of the courts baseline.
The coach will tell the athletes which foot they must touch each baseline example; Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Left and then say go.
The athlete will run six lengths of the court and touch each baseline with the appropriate foot.
If any athlete touches any baseline with the wrong foot the drill is repeated by all.
Beginning time to complete this drill is 36 sec.
The training range is 4-20 reps of 6 lengths.
Run this drill with 3 groups so you get a 2:1 rest ratio
The challenge for the group is threefold: first, all athletes must concentrate on what the coach is saying to ensure they hear, as well as, commit to memory, the 6 foot placements; secondly, all athletes must make the target time; third, once the coach says ‘go’ its up to the players to make sure all are on the same page and step with the appropriate foot. When the whole team can run 10 ‘cognitive court sprints’ below 34 seconds the team is prepared to begin the rigors of the practice season.
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