I’m receiving a lot emails from basketball players asking me about the pressure that they face in basketball and the fear they experience and how to overcome it.
Well, I do have a standard way of answering those emails. I do have some versions that I send them (depending on their specific question) but ultimately it comes down to this.
Great athletes don’t think.
They are just great performers and for the most part they can’t boil it down to what makes them so special. They might have a story they like to tell themselves but in reality it’s a combination of things. When it comes to their confidence and lack of fear (that’s what confidence is, not caring for the outcome and/or expecting a positive result) it all comes down to the thought processes in their head.
For starters, I would say you should focus on your strengths. When driving against your opponent it’s a matter of what you focus on. If you EXPECT that he or she is going to reject you, and you actually believe that, you are very likely to get rejected because it’s the self-fulfilling prophecy taking place.
What you expect to be true generally is. Instead, not only should you focus on the things that make you a better player (and the fact that you’ve come to this website) tells me that you are willing to improve. Some people play the game for the sake of playing the game. But not you, to you, basketball it’s more than just a game.
A great portion of great performers do rituals. That’s why you see players like Jason Kidd, Richard Hamilton (to name a few) who have their little ritual, little act that they do before they shoot free throws. The reason is to get themselves in that peak state when they are expecting positive income and they don’t have the fear. Maybe before the game, mentally prepare yourself that you are better than the others.
Get angry if you have to. Say some affirmations with emotions and really mean them. Watch some inspiring videos on youtube. Play against someone 5 times better than you. Get in his reality. Try to see through his or her eyes. See what it feels like to watch the game from great performers.
Majority of them have dedicated themselves and have spent countless hours practicing and doing the right things in the right way. They may have some advantages in terms of strength or height. But sometimes no matter how physically prepared you are, if you are not mentally ready, you’re gonna break when it really matters. When the game is on the line you will be paralyzed.
That’s why I wrote this article. Because I believe that over 90% of bball players spent too much time on developing their mechanics and not their mental advantage. Think of Michael Jordan and think of him, afraid to go up against bigger and stronger opponents. He wouldn’t be called Air Jordan, that’s for sure.
Remember what Bill Russell said. The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to let your opponent know that every shot he takes, you might block him. And let them know they can’twin. They just can’t win.