Former San Jose Archbishop Mitty CIF state champion Aaron Gordon only one of a growing list of professional athletes who are using mental training app launched earlier this year by Lucid. The Mission of San Francisco Bears also have used it. Now, any high school athletes in all sports can use this app for FREE.
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As many will remember, when the NBA’s Aaron Gordon was developing into a two-time Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year at Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, he had difficulty at the free throw line. Gordon would fidget at the line and had free throw shooting percentages that hovered around 50 percent.
Today, playing for the Orlando Magic, Gordon is making approximately 70 percent of his free throws. So was it just a question of practice, practice, practice?
Actually, the answer to that question is no. It was more of a mental aspect of training that Gordon has welcomed and it’s that mental training in the form of the Lucid phone app that all California basketball players — boys or girls — and all athletes in any sports really can benefit from and at no cost.
Graham Betchart of Lucid spent time on the phone with Cal-Hi Sports this week to discuss Lucid and how the system works.
“It’s all about next play speed,” said Betchart, who in addition to working with Gordon has worked with other NBA players, NFL players such as Brandon Marshall of the New York Giants. “It’s how fast you can think about and focus on the next play. Aaron had to buy into it. I don’t care if you’ve made 80 mistakes in a row, it’s all about the next play.”
“Buy in. Buy in,” Gordon says on the GetLucid.com web site. “More than anything you need to be mentally strong. Training with Lucid gives me the mental strength I need to perform in the NBA.”
Betchart and Lucid have broken down the mental training program into a five-minute daily listening session that they call MVP.
“M stands for meditation, V stands for visualization and P is for positive self talk,” said Betchart, who also has helped coach the boys team at Mission of San Francisco, which on Friday won the CIF Division III state title. “Most young kids want to be MVPs. What I will see after someone consistently uses the program is a resilient person who has the ability to fail but will not get caught up in failure.”
When you think about it, this mental strength to play in the moment, maintain focus from play to play and remain calm carries over into all sports. Examples include quarterbacks who have just thrown an interception, a golfer who has hooked a tee shot into the trees and a baseball player who has struck out multiple times in row.
When the mental training program is operating on the app, after a brief time of meditation (breathing is present and centered), Betchart leads the athlete in visualizing himself or herself succeeding in difficult circumstances.
“The brain doesn’t know the difference when you are doing in your mind and when you are doing it for real,” he said. “It’s about imagining yourself put in situations and then overcoming them.”
The five-minute program ends with a series of positive self-talk statements. This would be similar before smart phones to taping up self-affirming words on a mirror so you see them every morning. Examples could be: “I will not miss a free throw tonight. I will ace that test.”
This mental training isn’t just for athletes, but the early focus of the app’s launch is on younger student-athletes and making everything easy and free.
“You simply download it onto your phone, for free, and then choose the workout you want,” Betchart said. “It’s mind-blowing how this mental training can improve anybody’s game.”