Learning a new skill or improving an existing skill involves "changing the brain". Every skill that an athlete performs involves activating and/or creating neural pathways. That means sloppy or careless practice is not just a waste of time, it can actually change the brain too.
All 5 stages of Rhythm Dribble's neuro-muscular training program are built upon a new concept we call T.I.M.E., that focuses on formation of new neural pathways using short efficient sessions of what we like to call "perfect" practices.
Target – Use a tempo based audio target that must be matched by the athlete with each dribble of the ball. This creates accountability and provides immediate and objective performance feedback with each and every dribble of the ball.
Isolation – Focus on mastering the skills associated with one move in an intense, undistracted setting before advancing to the next.
Measurability – Progress must be objectively measurable so coaches, trainers, parents, and most importantly the player can monitor development, from week to week, session to session, and dribble to dribble.
Efficiency – Activity should be repeated, over and over, in short 2 – 6 minute bursts to build confidence, muscle memory, and stamina.
Target beat is established by setting the tempo. All moves in the Rhythm Dribble training programs must be practiced at multiple tempos. The easiest tempo is level 1 which demands 116 dribbles per minute and the hardest tempo is level 5 which demands 237 dribbles per minute. Learning to perform the moves at the slow tempos is just as important as learning to perform them at the faster ones.
Using our Mobile App, there are both auditory and visual cues so you can dribble the ball in sync with the target beat. The coach can select a move, level, and practice length which can then be assigned to one or more players as a “Challenge”. When a player completes the challenge their success is reported back to the coach so they know who has completed the assignment and who has not.
Isolation is important because the intense, undistracted practice of a move contributes to the development of positive muscle memory. We say “positive” muscle memory because just like muscles can remember how to do the move the right way, they can also be taught (by accident) to do a move the wrong way. By isolating on the specific move, we increase the probability of developing positive muscle memory. As player’s stamina increases, the length of time they can perform the move correctly increases and more muscle memory is achieved.
In our Mobile App, a graphic timer will be displayed on the screen counting down and an animated illustration of the rhythm will appear below the timer so the player can focus their attention on the timer and rhythm instead of looking at the floor or the ball they are dribbling.
Measurability is important because everyone in the process benefits from an objective means of measuring the developmental progress of the player, especially the player. When a player can objectively see their own progress from session to session, they have greater incentive to focus on completing more independent sessions using the app. This makes them a better player faster, capable of contributing more to the team’s performance.
With measurability, it is also important to emphasize the importance of character. It is easy for a player to initiate many practice sessions with the app and not actually do the practice, then claim mastery over the move. While we could have utilized the technology built into most modern smart devices to determine if a player was actually performing the move, we thought this would be a good area to start helping the athlete build character and a true personal commitment to excellence. If the player claims mastery over a move without actually having practiced the move the recommended number of repetitions they are cheating themselves out of the muscle memory that can only be achieved through repetition. Additionally, anyone, certainly any coach or trainer, will be able to see that they have not mastered execution of the move and that will put the players character in question. It’s better for a player to actually practice a move more then we recommend because our app tracks that too and that shows dedication to personal development.
The app keeps track of every move practice session completed independently by a player so they can monitor their progress toward completion of the recommended repetitions to mastery for each move in every stage of the program. Below the timer, the app displays how many times a move has been practiced at each level and will depict the player’s progress as a bar graph.
Efficiency is critically important to the development of positive muscle memory. By practicing a move, in isolation as described above, in short defined bursts ranging from 2 minutes to 6 minutes the player begins to develop positive muscle memory because it’s not long enough to invite failure but it’s long enough to begin building the players stamina. As a player begins to complete the 2 to 6 minute session with fewer and fewer and eventually no errors, they begin to build confidence in their ability to execute the move. As they are building confidence, they are also building muscle memory.
In the app, once you have selected a move and the level (tempo), the player must choose whether to perform the move for: The standard 4 minute session to build muscle memory and confidence, the interval program to practice changes in tempo and pace that are demanded by game time situations, or the infinite program to focus on building stamina. The 4 minute session, and each 4 minute segment of the infinite program count toward your completion of a moves recommended repetitions. The interval program does not count toward the recommended repetitions, but it prepares you for the tempo changes demanded by game time situations.