Steph Curry’s pregame rituals are almost as compelling as his actual basketball games, and the Golden State Warriors guard has put in a lifetime of work to make it that way.
Steph Curry’s pregame rituals are almost as compelling as his actual basketball games, and the Golden State Warriors guard has put in a lifetime of work to make it that way. Regular shootaround drills can only take you so far in the NBA, however, so over the past few seasons Curry has employed some more unconventional methods to bring his shooting from above-average to two-time-MVP levels. In a recent feature in Bleacher Report, Brandon Payne, Curry’s trainer, shared some of the secrets of Curry’s success: a pair of goggles, some flashing lights, and a tank of water. Really.
Curry sometimes does his shooting and handling drills wearing a clumsy-looking pair of goggles called the Eclipse. The eyewear is designed to promote the relationship between a strong brain and strong vision, which in theory will help Curry see and process action on the court at a higher rate than average, allowing him a faster reaction time and in effect reducing the game speed to slo-mo.
The FITLIGHT system takes the brain-eye interaction of Eclipse one step further. Payne sets up a series of tiny disc-shaped lights around the court—on poles, on walls, on the floor—and cues them to different colors. As Curry navigates the hardwood, Payne can flash the discs using a remote control, and the Warriors guard has to respond to each color with a different move. “It’s incredibly overloading when you’ve got that many decisions to make,” Payne told Bleacher Report.
With such an emphasis on what Payne calls “neurocognitive efficiency,” it’s important to give Curry time to process all the stimuli and rest his mind. So about once a week, he enters a sensory-deprivation tank, where the water is skin temperature and all light is shut out. It’s designed to feel like nothing. And it could soon be commonplace, according to Payne: “The sensory cognition, that neuro, is the new frontier. This is really the next phase of human performance.”