May 6, 2008 There’s an overwhelming body of evidence that the brain, much like any other part of the human body, can be trained for improved performance in a host of different ways. Now a computer game that uses technology originally developed to help train fighter pilots is getting remarkable results in helping aspiring professional basketballers improve their real, on-court game.
We find it ironic that the humble computer game, which like many popular pastimes of youth over the ages has been greeted with the jaundiced viewpoint of the previous generation, looks like becoming one of key enablers of improved real-time decision-making.
The Basketball IntelliGym software program looks like an innocent computer game – but much more is actually going on. As the player manipulates simple movements on the screen, “shooting” ammunition at moving targets, the system is busy analyzing skills and customizing a training program for the player. The computer will then administer to the player the tailor-fit training program, monitoring his or her progress at every stage and reacting to every improvement or setback. As the player progresses through the regimen, the system gently introduces one building-block after another while monitoring and quantifying the performance at all times. As the player becomes better, the activity becomes more and more demanding.
“Basketball is not about who runs faster or jumps higher, but who makes better decisions and fewer mistakes,” explains long-time NBA coach Hubie Brown. “I’m in the business for 50 years and the Basketball IntelliGym is the first training tool I have seen to actually improve game intelligence skills.”
Featuring a computer-game facade, the Basketball IntelliGym trains the part of the brain controlling complex basketball related tasks including; decision making; pattern recognition; tactics adaptation and switching; peripheral vision; attention control; situational awareness; teamwork, and spatial orientation. It strengthens the brain, just like the weight room builds muscles. What it means to players is more assists, blocks and steals, less turnovers and better shot selection.
The Basketball IntelliGym was an integral part of the training for four Indianapolis high school basketball teams this season -- Carmel, Franklin Central, Indy Tech and Zionsville.
Two players on each team were awarded an IntelliGym scholarship and all four teams had successful seasons and, according to their coaches, the players training with the system showed dramatic improvement. The players underwent an average of 8-12 training sessions with the Intelligym software training program during the season.
Mark Galloway, Head Basketball Coach, Carmel High School credits the Basketball Intelligym for a record-breaking season for his point guard. He helped lead our team to a 22-3 record this year including MIC Conference Champions, Sectional Champions and Undefeated at Home.
“Our program benefited right away from implementing this product,” said Coach Galloway. “Our starting point guard trained diligently with it, and as promised we saw great strides from his play. Personally, he had an amazing senior year breaking our single season (188) and single game (15) assist records. His assist to turnover ratio was an impressive 188/81. He was 1st Team All-State and Metro North Player of the Year and earned a scholarship offer to play for Division 1 Boston University.”
Despite extensive roster turnover, Indy Tech improved upon their 10-10 record of a year ago to post a 13-9 record and reach the semi-finals of the Sectional Tournament. The win marked their first Sectional win in 15 years.
Coach John Hamilton at Indy Tech gave the system to one of the top senior players on the varsity team, as well as the point guard for the school’s JV squad. The Intelligym provided immediate results for his varsity team shooting guard while the JV player also began to show improvement before his season was cut short due to injury.
“He (the varsity player) completed eight training sessions at the beginning of the season and his play early on was outstanding,” admitted Coach Hamilton. “His reactions were quicker and now that I think of it, he had some of his best games early in the season including a pair of 25 point outings. The Intelligym, clearly helped his court awareness and decision-making and even helped our team come together much quicker than I had expected,” said Coach Hamilton. “Although I encouraged him to use the system, I never had to remind him as the system was easy to operate and fun for him to use.”
One season after losing two top players to NCAA Division 1 programs, Franklin Central H.S. continued their tradition of success by posting a 17-8 record and the Class 4A Perry Meridian Sectional Championship. The following week their season came to an end as they were defeated by Carmel H.S. (also users of the Basketball Intelligym) in the Southport Regional Semi-Finals. Their success was even more impressive as three players were removed from the team for the last seven games of the season.
Franklin Central head coach Mark James also provided the Basketball Intelligym Scholarship training sessions to a freshman on his JV squad and junior point guard on the varsity squad. The frosh showed so much improvement during the season that he joined the varsity team and started the last seven games of the season.
“The players and I are in agreement that the system definitely helped with their decision-making ability on the court,” said Coach James. “I reviewed the stat sheet and saw that the freshman point guard committed only 27 turnovers in 25 games but very few of them were decision-making in nature. I have no doubt that this training helped him excel on the JV squad and fit in well when we called him up to play varsity. Our junior was solid all season, posting 11 points, 5 assist and very few turnovers or mental error.”
“I do not think it is a coincidence that several of these teams had historic seasons and saw fine point guard play,” said Ed Schilling, Executive Director of Champions Academy in Indianapolis and a long-time proponent of the Basketball Intelligym who saw direct results of the system when he served on the staff of John Calipari at the University of Memphis. . “The training regimen works best if all of the players are training with the system, but just like the results at these four schools demonstrates, one or two players making better decisions and playing smarter basketball can impact the performance of an entire team and make everyone better. We have no doubt, that in addition to the great coaching they received and the hard work they put in, the Intelligym contributed to the team’s success.”
The Basketball IntelliGym can be purchased in several versions and packages. The Personal Edition costs US$100 and is designed for 4 to 6 months of brain training, containing 19 training sessions. The program starts with a battery test in order to adjust the program to an individual’s strengths and weaknesses then trains basketball related skills such as decision making, court vision, anticipation, shot selection, team play and execution. The IntelliGym Personal Edition Gold sells for US$190 is intended for committed players who are involved with year-round competition.
In addition to the Personal Edition content, the Gold Edition includes training under extreme time constraints emphasizing shot-clock time management as well as a “maintenance training” phase. This part of the training program will help players cope with the influence of routine and fatigue and is designed to assist in remaining alert and sharp throughout the season. The maintenance sessions are designed to be practiced every 2-3 weeks. There are also Standard Edition Value Pack and Gold Edition Value Packs available for US$675 and US$1250 respectively, which contain 12 to 15 packages to accommodate individual and customized training for each player in a team, dropping the per seat price to less than US$50 a player.