What is basketball mental training all about? In order to be the best, you must think you are the best.
The above statement may sound like a ignorant and cocky statement, but it’s how you must feel insider whether or not you talk the same talk on the outside.
Basketball mental training means “nobody can touch me” on the inside, while staying reserved and calm on the outside with humble remarks and respect to the other teams.
You know the saying, “nice guys always finish last?”
I do. In fact, I know it very well. My former high school history teacher use to tell me it all the time. I would laugh it off and call him crazy, but the point he was trying to get across was very true. I had the same personality both on and off the court.
I was respectful, friendly, down to earth, and laid back. All these qualities are perfect for the classroom and in any function of society. Because of these traits, I could talk and associate with anyone and everyone felt comfortable around me.
But this was the wrong basketball mental training.
What do I mean by that?
Well, while you always need to stay respectful of your teammates, coaches, and most importantly – your opponent, personality traits like staying friendly, down to earth, and laid back on the basketball court are not welcomed. I was “too nice” and my history teacher was right.
In basketball it took me a long time to realize that my mentality was not prepared for success even if my skills were.
Basketball mental training comes different for each and every athlete. For some athletes, the mental aspect is a walk in the park, while for others it’s difficult and a constant battle.
Unfortunately, many athletes blow away a mass amount of potential because the mental aspect never is corrected.
Basketball mental training is broken down into three distinct features, which are preparation, instincts, and demeanor.
Athlete talent will only get you so far, because preparation is needed to further your horizon and push you to limits never thought possible.
Through preparation, a basketball player grows and learns.
Preparation is broken down into off-season and in-season routines. For off-season, preparation for success entitles working out or shooting for an hour rather then playing video games.
For in-season preparation, watching game film as well as studying opponents’ tendencies and offensive sets is necessary steps.
Basketball mental training really pays off through preparation which leads to instincts. On the basketball court, split second decisions are made on every possession up and down the court. It’s a simple formula. Make the right instincts and the higher possibility of playing ball at the next level. Too many bad decisions and a point in time will come when you’re stuck on the bench.
Basketball instincts cannot really be taught other than watching film and through practice. The more experience and exposure to basketball, equals more opportunities to make the right instinct.
A lot of coaches often say “over half the game is mental” and it’s very true. This is especially true on defense where will and desire can make up for lack of talent.
Demeanor is important, because you must have a swagger and confidence to your game. Yes, there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Find the right balance. Play with respect and sportsmanship but bring a mentality and demeanor that nobody can touch you.
Prepare and play each game like it’s your last, always work hard, and never surrender. Quitting sometimes appears the only option and easy way out. It’s not! When you are young every individual has an opportunity to play. When you get older, the option is no longer there. Take advantage of it!