Instincts vs Thinking

LanceV16July 7, 2017

Physiologically speaking, there is no such thing as “lacrosse instincts” or “football instincts.”  Why then, do I keep hearing reference to that when I watch games?

As a regular viewer of both live and televised sporting events, including lacrosse, I often hear the phrase, “that player sure has great instincts!”  This is an interesting comment.  No athlete is born with football or lacrosse instincts related to specific skills such as seeing a double team or getting off a pass under pressure.  Of course as you watch sports you can see the players who have the “instincts” rise to the top and make incredible plays game after game, while on the other hand you have players that “think” at the critical instant and ultimately let the moment pass them by before they can make the right play.  The contrasting play of “instinctual” players vs “thinkers” is very noticeable, especially at the high school and youth levels of lacrosse.  So what exactly is the difference, in a sporting sense, between instincts and thinking?

Instincts are actually just a product of muscle memory and athletic intelligence developed through countless hours of practice and endless amounts of repetition.  The best players in any sport all seem to have the instinctual awareness of the critical timing and execution needed to succeed in any athletic situation.  These plays appear spectacular to the observer, but when boiled down, the athlete has likely seen the scenario play out innumerable times in practice or through training, making it much easier to react to and execute properly in the course of live play.

“Thinkers”, on the contrary, likely have not put in the same amount of training, practice and repetition to make the athletic plays become second nature.  When faced with a scenario during game play, the “thinker” may take a quarter second longer than an “instinctual” player to evaluate the situation and choose the correct course of action to take.  That quarter of a second may be the difference between making the right play or letting the moment pass and subsequently making the wrong play.
Lacrosse instincts are a product of hard work and repetition.
Through hard work, experience gained and training hours and repetitions accrued, the “thinkers” can become “instinctual.”  So ask yourself, are you a “thinker” or an “instinctual” player right now?  Exaro Sports can create a personalized roadmap to take you from being a “thinker” to an “instinctual” player.  Sign up now to get started!