Reaction time is the time it takes for a person to respond to a stimulus. In the world of sports, the time between being presented with a stimulus and the body’s ability to move can be the difference between victory or defeat.
Reaction time has to do with genetics, an athlete’s individual nerve connection and their neuropathways in the brain. Although these cannot be improved upon, however, an athlete’s choice reaction time can.
Choice reaction time is the time between the stimulus and which action the athlete decides is quickest. With sports training and detailed instruction, choice reaction time can be improved.
An athlete is constantly receiving stimulus while on the field. From his eyes, where the players and the ball are at any given time; from his ears, what the referees, his coaches or other players are saying; and from his kinesthetic sense, his position and choices for any moment.
Players with advanced skills anticipate what other players may do, or where the ball may end up. They have the mental agility and concentration to stay completely focused to detect all the cues during a play. Their hand-eye coordination is perfected and they keep their anxiety levels low. All these can be improved upon during sports training and all are ways in which an athlete will help reduce their choice reaction time.
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