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EIA explores how face and body signals can give basketball professionals the edge

Initial findings from a major research project in the UK is revealing common signals from attacking players that defenders can use to spoil the attack.

Mike Nichols, rated as most valuable player of the England under 19s when he was just 17, also an ‘All Star’ UK representative has been working with EIA over the last 12 months on the sport he loves – married with his passion for the research of Dr Paul Ekman.

Mike, who is now 39 years old is coaching an aspiring local team (Bury Blue Devils) and is engaged in Consultancy with professional and amateur teams across the UK.

Having studied and video recorded 200 players from professional and amateur teams, some revolutionary discoveries are emerging from the 1000 clips involving a controlled setting with an attacker attempting to beat a defender (1 on 1).

Cliff Lansley adds that he has ‘reviewed the work and EIA are excited about the potential for basketball and other competitive sports. There are four key elements around eyes, attacking intent displays on the face, micro-facial expressions and body language, which we are particularly interested in as this has parallels with deadly intent in the criminal world’.

The data analysis is being developed into pilot training sessions for defenders to help them use the findings to take a pro-active approach to defence, based on the behaviour of the attacker.

Their performance will be baselined and contrasted with control groups in the next stage of the work with the Emotional Intelligence Academy in Manchester, UK.

Mike highlights that, ‘an offensive player can only consciously process so much information in the split seconds involved here – so unconsciously they leak signs and tells about their intent. Defenders can be trained to identify these signs and recognise the thoughts/emotions of the attacking player so the defender can take action to limit their options, spoil the play, encourage shot-clock violations (the attacker only has 24 seconds to shoot the ball), force bad shots and get a psychological and winning edge on the opposing team’.

Mike is also keen to engage professional basketball players and teams from overseas and from other sports to extend the research – anyone interested should contact him directly here.

Posted on: Saturday, February 16th, 2013

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