Neuroplasticity is the capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behaviour in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction.
In basketball, various types of violations will result in a foul shot, otherwise known as a “free throw.” The free throw line is 15 feet away from a hoop that is 10 feet tall. During your foul shot, no one is guarding you.
Often times, these shots happen during times in the game of great consequence so it’s pretty important that you make more than you miss. The league average for foul shots in 1946 was 64%. By the 2019-2020 season, the average has jumped to 77%.
Steve Nash is the best free throw shooter in NBA history with a free throw percentage of 90.43%. That’s excellent, and then you learn about Ted St. Martin who is the Guinness Book of World Record Holder for most consecutively made free throws at 5221 (in a little over 7 hours).
The worst free throw shooter in NBA history is not Shaquille O’Neal (52.7%) but Ben Wallace at 41.4%.
I have a friend, whose name I won’t say, that has trouble falling asleep. Nearly every night, they toss, turn, and try to shut off their brain. There are too many thoughts swirling about. It takes a while, but eventually they fall asleep.
Nearly every night, I lay down in my bed on my back and I cuddle with my wife for 5-15 minutes. Then, when I’m ready, I turn over on my right side, and I fall asleep in around 5 minutes.
I first heard the term “Click-whirr” in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence. I believe other references to the term are derivative from this. The term refers to unconscious behaviors that are triggered by stimuli. Cialdini explores fixed-action behaviors of humans and other animals. What he found was that behaviors can be triggered from stimuli, even if those stimuli are copies of the original.
What does this mean?
I’m sorry to tell you, but you, are not in complete control.
You turn to look at the noise and your heart starts racing. It’s an instinctual response. Fight or flight. This will happen whether it’s a real explosion or a very convincing sound effect.
Those sneakers you were watching on StockX…there’s only 1 pair left.
You feel strongly compelled to buy it now. It’s an instinctual response to avoid loss.
Steve Nash visualizes his shot and practices shooting without the ball 2-3 times, then he dribbles three times, bends his knees…
And he makes his foul shot 90% of the time.
I’m in bed and turn on my right side.
I’m asleep in less than 10 minutes.
Set your click
All of these behavioral responses start in the brain. There’s amazing power in understanding this because you have the opportunity to set new behaviors by setting your click.
You have the ability to change yourself.
When you look at your daily routine and when you think about areas of your life to improve, there is a process to cause behavior change in yourself.
- Identify the behavior you want to alter.
- Set or recognize a trigger.
- Practice the trigger and action until it becomes an ingrained habit.
As you do this over and over, your brain’s neuroplasticity will begin to form pathways in your brain making the habit easier and easier to do until it becomes hard not to. The more you do it, the more ingrained the habit becomes.
Make it click
So, what new trigger and action combo will you set and practice until it changes your brain?
How will you track it?