[ Strategy ] How To Boost Basketball IQ

Strategy: How To Boost Basketball IQ

I got a question recently from a coach asking how to improve a player’s basketball IQ.

And I thought I’d share my thoughts on this and how to apply strategies as a coach, player or parent of a player.

Before diving into strategies, let me first define basketball IQ.

Basketball IQ is basically a player’s intelligence and decision-making ability on the court.

Players with a high IQ can make the right decision fast at the right time.

They anticipate what the opposition is about to do, and can quickly create a counter.

They determine whether each shot they take is a good shot.

Not only that, but they quickly understand their coach’s strategies and can effortlessly execute at a moment’s notice.

When combined, it gives individual athletes the edge and any team an advantage on the court.

So, how exactly do you teach basketball IQ?

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Let me be honest…It’s challenging.

Basketball IQ is one element of Mental Player Development.

And it’s not as tangible and clearly defined as teaching a physical move.

For example:

You can’t demonstrate decision making and assign drills for players to get in the reps.

Instead, it’s more of a “learn by observation”.


It involves watching lots of films so you can point out what good decision making actually looks like.

Here’s how coaches can boost their player’s IQ

Clearly define what basketball IQ is – You can use my definition above.

Watch a lot of games and films at all levels.

Identify what you consider a good decision.

Reverse engineer how the player made the decision.

Show the clip to your player and explain what they did and why it’s a good decision.

Come up with a drill or workout based around that decision.  

Make this even more effective by filming your own games and practice sessions and reviews.

Point out what you consider a good basketball IQ in your players, and breakdown how and why it worked.

Here’s how players and parents of players can boost IQ

Same principles apply.

You’ve got to watch a lot of film through the lens of what you thought was a good decision.

Write down how you think it worked and what thought processes went into it.

Whenever you see something you think is an example of good basketball IQ…

Write it down.

Do this consistently and you’ll build a collection of techniques and strategies.

Incorporate these same techniques and strategies in your game whenever you can.

Why do these strategies work?

When you understand the process behind the decision, you’ll start to pick up on the subtleties that allow the player to make that decision.

Being aware of these subtleties allow YOU to make faster reads and faster decisions.

Because you know what to look for.

Like with everything in basketball…

Repetition is the Mother of Success.

Get in the reps, practice and refine over time.

Teaching and mastering basketball IQ is challenging.


It has a HUGE payoff in the future when your player makes faster decisions, outsmart the defense every time and can quickly understand and execute new strategies…

If you’re a coach and would like me to coach you to build a philosophy and program centered around mental player development strategies like this, hop on a call on the page below to see how we can help here

Or if you’re a player (or parent of a player) who wants to build a powerful IQ so you can make lightning-fast decisions…

…Transforming your player into the star on their team, then I can help you. Book a call with my team here

Keep Getting After It


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