Thinking Faster - Part Deux

Part one we explored some theory - Let's look at some fun ways to make thinking faster a reality.

Time

Let's get straight to it. Thinking faster is something that everyone wants to do. Decision training or 'brain training' is where the fun takes place. Part 1 blog on thinking faster can be found here.

This blog will share 5 drills you can do that will help you think faster, make better decisions so those benefits can translate into your on court game!

Drill 1 - Reaction drop
This is nice and simple and you will need a buddy to help you. Your friend will hold two balls in front of you (if it's really tough, start with 1). Your buddy will hold their arms at full length, in-line with their shoulders. Each hand will be holding a tennis ball, (any ball small enough to hold will work) balls facing the ground. You, the player will rest your hand on top of theirs. Your buddy will wait until you are ready and hands on top of theirs before they drop 1 ball. You need to react as fast as you can and catch the ball before it hits the ground.

Drill 2 - Coloured cones
This one can be as easy or hard as you can make it. The player, you will be in the center of a coloured cone shape. Maybe you have 4 cones. Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. They will be spaced like a square around you (any shape you like). You will start in the middle of the cones and your buddy will start calling out colours. Your job is to react and run/touch the cone as quick as possible. After each touch, return to the middle. Each time you get back to the middle, your buddy will pick a new colour (or maybe the same one) and you repeat. To make it easier, take cones/colours away. To make it harder, add more cones/colours.

Drill 3 - Textured juggling
This drill is for speed, coordination and textile development. Your buddy will stand opposite you, maybe 1-1.5 meters away. You will need 3 balls for this one. Each ball needs to be different. Bigger or smaller, have spikes or maybe not be a ball at all. It could be an Orange, Tennis ball and Ping Pong ball for example. Ok, so the drill begins when your buddy starts to throw 1 item at a time. You quickly pass it back and at the same time the next item is thrown. This drill can be challenging for your buddy too. Lots of drops will occur and that's all apart of the fun. Each of you go as fast as you can and maintain control for as long as possible.

Drill 4 - Math fitness
Exactly like it sounds. When you are in the middle of fitness or after each set of a workout drill, add in some math. It can be an equation, pattern recognition, spelling, riddle or anything that requires deliberate thought. When you are fatigued, this is hard! If you are the coach or parent, be sure to source the right questions to not make it too hard but also not too easy. Remember it is in the middle of a fitness session, so we don't want the player to get cold.

Drill 5 - Opposite land
Opposite land can be mixed up a few different ways. It can we with catching or kicking. This example will be with catching and you can change it up as you like. Have a buddy stand 2-3 meters in front of you. They are holding one ball and you are in ready position. Your buddy will need to gentle throw a ball to you and in the air call out 'Left' or 'Right'. Your job is to hear, decide and react correctly. Obviously in this case, catching the ball with the correct hand. There's two ways you can progress this drill and make it harder.
First way ~ Delay the call as long as possible taking away a lot of time to decide
Second way ~ Is the reason this drill is called 'opposite land'. When your buddy calls 'Left' you will catch with your right. When they call 'Right' you will catch with your left. Experiment with the kicking, and other ways you can make it more challenging.

I love these drills within warm-ups. They are partly the reason I have changed the name within our coaching. We no-longer call it the warm-up, it is now, skill-up. Of course we warm the body at the same time, however, our drills are designed for skill enhancement, decision training among other things. I highly recommend you add some decision training into your world and don't be afraid to make up your own drills and routines.

Add these into your training and let us know how you go!

Video drill library coming soon.