Master the Inner Game of Basketball

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Every sports person knows that what goes on inside governs what happens outside. This is the inner game of basketball.

However, nearly all basketball players and coaches train from the outside in. This is no surprise as it is the common knowledge and the way that they have learned to train.

The research and techniques to train from the inside out are cutting edge and few people know of them. However, the results are spectacular!

For instance, as part of my Basketball Performance Coaching Program67% of my clients have increase their free throw accuracy to over 90% in just a matter of weeks.

In this article I will give you an overview of what happens in your brain when you train and play basketball. My intention is to give you a new idea of how to train and prepare yourself in a way that will power up your results.


Key Areas of your Brain That you use When you Play Basketball

This diagram gives you a summary of the key areas of your brain that you use when you play basketball:

Areas of the brain when you play basketball

Your neocortex is the part of the brain that you know well. It is the area that you use when you are thinking and it is the part that you use to give orders to the rest of your brain about what you want your body to do. For instance it is the part that tells you to concentrate or that tells you how important it is for the shot to go in. However it is just the tip of the iceberg and has almost no control over your body and emotions.

It is fundamental that you grasp this fact, so I am going to repeat it so that it truly hits home: The thinking part of the brain has almost no control over your body and your emotions.

The real powerhouse is in the other areas of your brain, the limbic system, reptilian brain and brainstem. These are exactly the parts of your brain that you have no conscious access to, they are beyond your awareness and yet control all your emotions, psycho-emotional states, motivation and physical movements.

The good news is that we now have techniques and processes that enable us to access directly to transform these areas.

Here is a brief summary of how each of these areas is involved when you play:


Limbic system

This area is responsible for the following:

  • Your emotions
  • Your spatial judgment
  • It directs your movements
  • It influences your autonomic nervous system
  • Your motivation
  • Your long-term memory of what you practice


Reptilian Brain

This zone governs your basic states such as ambition, territorialism, aggression… which are completely necessary for your “edge” and are the foundation of all sports.



Your brainstem regulates your Central Nervous System.


“now I enter into a deep state of calm, peace and focus”


The absolute key to all this information is that the neocortex (your orders and demands) have almost no influence over this deeper part of the brain. However, this deeper part has a huge influence over the neocortex.

Invasive thoughts when you play basketballFor example, one of the most common performance issues that sports people come to me for are the invasive thoughts and emotions that happen to them during the game. They are completely aware that they reduce drastically their performance, however are unable to stop them occurring.


Cutting Edge Techniques

I would like to add at this point, that every experience that you have had, since the moment of your conception, is stored in this lower part of your brain. All these experiences govern all your emotions, states, feelings, beliefs, thoughts, actions and movements.

This means that we need techniques that enter directly into the lower part of the brain to release blocks from there so that the invasive thoughts and negative states disappear and you are completely present in the game. These technique also allow you to install from this deep part of your brain your skills, instant judgment and learning in a way that they come out in pure brilliance on the court.

This means that your skills, judgment and potential express themselves naturally in the most crucial and pressured moments. I have touched on some of these techniques in my article on Accelerated Learning. In other articles, I will continue to write about some of the techniques that you can use to do so.


The Techniques in Practice

Let me give you an example of a player whose free throws had plummeted. He had an accuracy of only 53%. He described how the moment that he heard the referees whistle his body would tense and he would begin to be invaded by thoughts about how the ball must go in and what would happen if it didn´t.

We worked on this difficulty over a 3 week period using various techniques, after which is accuracy increased to 83% and he now enters into a deep state of calm, peace and focus before and during his free throws.

To conclude, then, in order for you to reach your potential and play to your full brilliance you need to be able to work directly with your limbic system, reptilian brain and brainstem. You need to be able to release the blocks that have become embedded there and to practice in a way that stores your increasingly refined skills in this part of your brain.

The effect of this approach is breathtaking and frees you into feelings of natural brilliance and joy on court.



Click here for information on my Basketball Peak Performance Program