“I thought because we were going to play a little bit faster tempo this year that we should do everything that we could to try to cut down on our turnovers,” said LBSU (8-8, 3-2) men’s coach Larry Reynolds, who learned of IntelliGym from the company’s display at the 2004 Men’s Final Four. “I think what it does is it gives the guys an idea of what’s happening around them, and to be conscious of what’s happening on all sides of the floor.I think as we get into league play we’ll see the benefits.” The game itself features 10 blue/gray oval shapes floating around on the screen in discernible patterns. Five of the ovals have light-blue circles that represent the player’s team, with the user-controlled icon surrounded by an extra outline and a missile launcher on one side. Players receive points after each timed level, during which the object is to steal opponents’ energy while preventing the opponents from stealing the team’s energy by colliding with members of the players’ team. The Hook missile is used to shoot at a teammate and transfer player control to that team member, to help escape a nearby opponent. “When we first got it, I was excited, because I thought, ‘Hey, we’re all going to be better decision-makers,” ” 49er freshman guard Mary Has said. “But we didn’t think it was going to be this hard. It’s pretty challenging.” Throughout the game, the icons move at variable speed, simulating quick cuts and spacing found on a basketball court. New missiles are available as the game progresses, including Weaken, which takes energy from the other team, slowing down the defense. “After the first one, for most of us it said that we have to learn to follow directions better,” LBSU senior forward Jayme Connors said. “Because there’s so much going on, and you’ve got to think about, ‘OK, so that’s what the directions said’ while you’re doing it.” At this time, the IntelliGym is only available for basketball, though as more schools decide to use it, ACE may branch out into other sports. In addition, there are recently developed versions for high school basketball players, available on the company’s Web site. “Every sport has a different set of cognitive skills that it uses,” Shoham said. “The research of an exact skill is a long process. So I can give this system to a football player and it will help them . . . to become better basketball players.” For now, the 49ers are happy to join the schools that use the system for basketball. After all, knowing when to pass the Hook or whether to have your power forward set a Weaken pick can be the difference between winning and losing. “Since I’ve been here, an area that I want us to keep developing is mental toughness and decision-making down the stretch,” said third-year LBSU (12-5, 5-0) women’s coach Mary Hegarty, whose team was 2-7 last season in games decided by five or fewer points. “I think, especially after last year, where it was a game of inches, or one play or mistake, this could be something that could eliminate some of those mistakes and be what we need to get over the top.” Matt Zimmerman can be reached at email@example.com or (562) 499-1338. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Time for a quick decision. Better hurry, the defense is ready. Each of your four teammates on the floor is guarded closely. Do you use the Hook to pass the rock, or do you slow another teammate’s defender by setting a hard pick? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “From our perspective, it’s to help with quick decisions and brain training, basically,” 49er senior guard Crystal McCutcheon said after a recent 49er game. “There’s a theory that you can train your brain to do something without actually doing it.” Gilad Shoham would say it’s not just a theory. Shoham is the vice president of basketball operations for ACE — Applied Cognitive Engineering (www.ace4sports.com), the Israel-based company that produces and created the IntelliGym system, which features a technology called “Cognitive Simulation.” “This all started 15 years ago in the Israeli Air Force, the concept that you can train the brain in the same way you train muscles,” Shoham said. “You train your brain, you become stronger in your brain, then you go back to the court and play better, make better decisions, quicker decisions and just execute better.” Based on a system used to train Israeli fighter pilots to make better decisions, the IntelliGym is the result of two years of basketball research in the Israeli professional league. Two years of further development have followed as major men’s basketball programs such as Kentucky, Memphis, Georgia, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, California and Iowa use the IntelliGym. Due to time constraints, both 49ers teams have only recently had a chance to do regular sessions with the IntelliGym, thanks to the winter break. Or is that a Weaken missile? These are the choices the Long Beach State men’s and women’s basketball teams must make every week, but not necessarily on the court. The 49ers joined more than a dozen other schools this year in training with the ACE IntelliGym System, a computer game meant to improve players’ reaction times to game situations.