Reading an opponent’s intentions is learned. For example, in volleyball, a back row defender able to read a hitter’s intentions has a greater opportunity to dig the ball. In basketball, reading a ball handler better allows the defender to shut down where they want to go.
Here is an exercise that will condition an athlete’s speed plus improve reading skill.
Partner up, face one another and adopt a low defensive crouch. For example, if you are a defensive back in football, the same position you would take going close man to man on a wide receiver. In volleyball, a low digging position would suffice.
Next, designate one person as the leader and the other as the follower, or reader. The person in the lead leaps with both feet in any direction and lands in the same low crouch position. The follower must immediately leap as though the leader is looking in a mirror. So, if the leader jumps backward, the follower jumps backward. If the leader jumps forward (toward the follower), the follower also jumps forward (toward the leader). It is critical that the follower attempt to anticipate where the leader is going and react as fast as possible.
The leader may adopt a fast tempo, jumping quickly in random directions while the followers attempts to match them, just like they are a mirror images.
When the follower makes an error, wrong direction, then they switch roles. The follower becomes the leader and vice versa. Continue back and forth for 3-5 minutes. Rest one minute and resume until 15 minutes total elapse.
Advanced Mirror Drill
Do the Mirror drill wearing Jump Soles.