Coach Doaty on Basketball’s Internal and External Speakers


Randal S. Doaty
Focus & Attitude Coach

   Every athlete has an internal and external speaker system for communicating. When you are talking to yourself inside your head, you are utilizing your internal speaker system. When you are talking to others audibly, you are using your external speakers. Our ability to play effectively depends upon on our own ability to manage our basketball speaker systems.

   As a Focus & Attitude Coach, I study the relationship between overall basketball performance and a wide variety of external physical signs. One clear sign that any coach can observe is when a player shuts off their external speaker system. They are silent. When this occurs, it usually means that a conversation is happening within the mind. The player is talking to themselves. Rarely is that a good thing.

   The problem with our internal speaker system or talking to ourselves inside our head is the overall effect on a player’s focus and attitude. Although most people think they are good at multi-tasking, they really aren’t! Talking to yourself warps your perception of time, alters your reaction time and impedes your ability to make quick and accurate decisions in a game. When the internal speak is in operation, basketball performance drops.

   The external speaker system is in operation when you are audibly speaking to your fellow players. It actually requires less energy from your brain to speak audibly to another player than to speak internally to yourself. The best way to get out of a mental funk in the middle of a basketball game is to begin talking – say anything – just talk! When a player is talking, their BIMPS4 performance numbers increase significantly and the game will quickly begin to go much better!

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