Basketball is one of those sports that can make us feel great one play and terrible the next. It is a sport that can make us question our confidence and even our love of the game at times.
As hoopers, we all know how it can feel to lose a close game or underperform for our team and ourselves.
In this article, I will be going over some tricks and tips you can use to overcome the pits and valleys the game of basketball will inevitably bring up so you can push yourself past this in order to become the best player you can be.
What Is Mental Toughness?
Mental Toughness is the ability to push past any negative thoughts or feelings you might be having and performing the best you can despite the circumstances.
Examples of mental toughness
-Supporting your teammates despite not getting a lot of playing time.
- Finding other ways to help your team win even if you're not playing well
- Continuing to shoot the ball even if you're not shooting well.
- Having a positive attitude even when you are not playing well.
Why Is Mental Toughness Important?
Mental Toughness is the thing that will keep you going when things go inevitably bad or struggles face you.
I don't care who you are even Micheal Jordan and Lebron James faced struggle when it came to the game of basketball.
We have all seen talented players fold when things get tough and just spiral downward. It is really one of the biggest shames in the game of basketball and something I don't want anyone reading this to experience.
1. Find Better Competition
It's really easy to be positive, confident, and upbeat when you easily beat guys. It's a totally different challenge to remain positive when you're getting your ass kicked.
Examples Of finding better competition.
-Playing against older players if you are a kid.
- Playing on a travel ball team against the best competition in your local area or state.
- Playing the best player you know in 1 on 1
Playing against the better competition can help your mental toughness because it will give you the ability to face adversity and allow you to develop the toughness needed in the game of basketball.
2. Control What You Can Control
If mental toughness is the ability to do your best no matter the circumstance then controlling what you can control is the perfect remedy for this.
For example, effort and attitude are some of the few things you can control in the game of basketball.
So let's say you are shooting badly and not scoring as much as you would like, by still giving it your all and remaining positive you then give yourself the best chance to ride out the storm and hopefully start playing better again.
Basketball like anything is going to have lots of ups and downs, but at the end of the day giving it your all and making smart reasonable desiscions regarding your situation will give you the best chance of playing better. And thats what mental toughness is all about.
3. Have A "Why"
A "why" Is something you can always go to when times get tough. It's that one thing you can always look at or say to yourself when you're wondering why you're even doing this.
This "why" Is really up to you as a player and person. Some players' "why" might be to get a scholarship, other players' "why" might be for the love of the game or to prove someone wrong.
It really doesn't matter what it is this is all up to you. Almost every great player has a "why" that they can constantly go to no matter the circumstance.
If you ever watched the Last Dance about Micheal Jordan and the bulls you can see that throughout this documentary Micheal Jordan always found ways to motivate himself with different whys. Whether it was being doubted by the media or other teams' trash talk about him.
4. Take Responsibility
One of the most poisonous things you can do to your mind and mental toughness is blaming others.
Instead of blaming refs, coaches, teammates, or even your parents you should try and see what you can do to change your situation and better yourself as a whole. That is what taking responsibility is all about. Looking at yourself instead of others.
By blaming others you esentailly take away your own power to effect change and give yourself a better situation as a whole.
And to be fair a lot of times the coaches might be putting you in bad situations or the refs might not be getting you good calls, but the only thing I am saying is that blaming others will overall make your whole situation worse. But by taking responsibility you can then give yourself the best chance to effect a positive change.
5. Play In The Moment
Basketball has 100s of plays in any given game and at the end of the day, you can only play the next play.
One of the worst things you can do as a player is getting your head wrapped up in a play that already happened. Again control what you can control, there is no time machine, if you made a mistake do your best to make up for it in some way.
Most great players have short-term memory loss and will continue to shoot and make the right play no matter how they might have played throughout the course of the game.
Everyone has a game plan till life pushes them down. I can give you every tip under the sun when it comes down to mental toughness. But at the end of the day, mental toughness will come down to you and your ability to ride out the tough times in life.
Thank you for reading and as always keep hooping my friends.
If this article helped in anyway or if you have any questions please comment below.