Goalkeeping drills and perceptual cues

I am not a soccer expert, although I have refereed over 200 games in the last two years. However, sometimes I believe it is easier to understand general arguments or concepts when we are not attached to our own practices or beliefs, which means that seeing the idea or concept in another sport or environment may facilitate understanding. […]

The Psychology of a Point Guard: The Trilogy

Part I: The Personality of a Point Guard

July 4th, 2008

In the lead-up to the 2008 NBA Draft, experts projected the ability of combo guards like O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Russell Westbrook, and Eric Gordon to play point guard. After Baron Davis joined the Los Angeles Clippers, people in the Bay Area discussed Monta Ellis’ ability to play point guard. […]

Speed of Thought in Sports

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, November/December 2013.

“Speed kills” is a mantra popularized by an anti-drug campaign in the 1980s and by former Oakland Raiders head coach and owner Al Davis. The mantra, in part, has led the NFL to obsess over 40-yard dash times by NFL draft prospects even though few plays require players to run 40 yards in a straight line. In team sports, speed is a valued quality, but our understanding of speed in team games often is misunderstood.  […]

Lights, cameras, and reactive agility

Agility lacks a precise definition (Holmberg, 2009; Jeffreys, 2011; Sheppard & Young, 2006). Agility has been defined as the ability to change directions efficiently or with a minimal loss of control or speed (Barnes, Schilling, Falvo, Weiss, Creasy, & Fry, 2007; Safaric & Bird, 2011; Young & Wiley, 2009); agility requires the ability to brake, change direction, and accelerate again (Plisk, 2000). Agility also has been defined as basic movements that result in sudden changes in body direction in combination with rapid movement of the limbs (Farrow, Young, & Bruce, 2005); described as a rapid, whole-body change of direction or speed in response to a stimulus (Sheppard & Young, 2011); and described as the coupling of deceleration with a reactive acceleration (Plisk, 2000). […]

NBA pre-draft combine, box agility test, and defensive performance

Last weekend, I attended the Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group Conference. The conference is one of the best conferences in the country for strength and conditioning coaches and sports medicine professionals, and regularly draws some of the best speakers. At the conference, former Oakland A’s and current N.C. State strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo was one of the speakers.  […]

How Basketball Players Make Decisions

Since I wrote Developing Basketball Intelligence, a reader has hounded me to read Sources of Power by Gary Klein. Having never heard of it or Klein, I put off the recommendations, figuring it was another pop science book like Outliers. However, with some free time this summer while waiting for my committee to respond with comments on my dissertation proposal, I ordered and read Sources of Power, which is not pop science at all. It is an interesting account of naturalistic decision making, as opposed to the laboratory, focused on Klein’s research with firemen, the military, emergency rooms, and more. […]

Workout Warriors: Kevin Durant tested as the 78th best athlete in the 2007 NBA Draft

This week, as you watch Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant in the 2012 NBA Finals and read about prodigious performances in NBA teams’ individual workouts, remember that Kevin Durant tested as the 78th out of 80 athletes tested in 2007. Durant famously could not lift 185lbs a single time, and also failed to excel in any of the other tests. Of course, none of those 77 players who were “better athletes” than Durant won the 2007-08 NBA Rookie of the Year, and Durant is the only three-time NBA scoring champ among his draft class.  […]