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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

76ers want Markelle Fultz to use virtual reality to get his shot back

Markelle Fultz free throws

Markelle Fultz has struggled with either a shoulder injury, the yips, or a combination of both in his rookie season, and the Philadelphia 76ers are resorting to some untraditional methods to try to get the No. 1 overall pick back on track.

In a lengthy feature about Fultz for PhillyVoice.com, Kyle Neubeck wrote about the Sixers’ use of virtual reality in training players. The use of virtual reality is something the 76ers have been experimenting with for about six months, and they believe they can use it to simulate game situations and helped injured players keep up with the program when they have physical limitations. According to Neubeck, the team is hoping the use of VR goggles can help Fultz work through the mental obstacles that have affected his ability to shoot.

With Fultz, there is a different motivation to get him behind the VR goggles. The Sixers, according to multiple sources, wanted him to be able to visualize the mechanics he’ll use in a game, to remember how easy it once was for him to rise up with the ball and shoot from anywhere on the court, and to be able to do so without the glare of the cameras or other people around him. With pressure coming down on him from all angles, turning part of a teenager’s job into a video game is one way to relieve the stress of the situation.

The 76ers have been very protective of Fultz as speculation builds that the former Washington star is not in a good place mentally. While he may have originally adjusted his shot because of a shoulder injury, it seems like Fultz should be healed by now. His struggles at this point are likely more mental than physical.

A video recently surfaced on social media that showed Fultz shooting free throws in practice, and his form did not look good. He also shared some ominous messages on social media a few weeks back, though it’s unclear if they were basketball-related.

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