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How To Mentally Prepare Yourself For A Basketball Game

Basketball is just as much a physical game as it is a mental game. That is why it is equally as important not only to prepare yourself for a game both physically but mentally as well.

If you look at all the best players who ever played this game they not only were masters at their craft from a skill perspective but also from a mental perspective as well.

In this article, I will be going over the things you can do mentally to prepare for a basketball game or any type of basketball situation you need to perform well in like a practice or even a tryout.

1. Routine

A routine is something you consistently do and is almost like a set program you fix for yourself.

Why You Should Do It

A routine is important for basketball players because it is something you can do to quiet your mind and control what you can control. Feeling like you are prepared going into a game allows you to be more confident and calmer going into that situation,

We all know that before a big game or tryout there can be a lot of outside noise that can affect our mental state going into a game. By having this routine you can then put yourself into a calmer state by focusing on your routine.

Just like a player has a free throw routine you should also have a pregame routine as well.

Examples Of Pregame Routine

- Eating 2 hours before a game

- Making 20 Shots before the game starts

- listening to their favorite song before the game starts

2. Sleep

While this tip might seem more like a physical tool than a mental tool you have to remember that the brain is an organ just like any other part of the body.

Sleep is a great way to make sure your brain feels calm and ready to go once game time starts.

Many of the best athletes in the world like Lebron James or Giannis use sleep to prepare them both physically as well as mentally for basketball games.

For a great video explaining the importance of sleep check out the video below.

3. Visualize

Visualizing is a process where you put yourself in a game scenario mentally before the game even starts. Think of it almost as a mental rehearsal.

Why You Should Visualize

Visualization has been shown to fire similar muscle patterns in your body when you imagine it as when you are actually performing the exercise.

By visualizing before a game you can then give yourself the confidence to go out there and perform to the best of your abilities on the court.

4. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a process where you are aware of the feeling or thoughts you might be having and getting into the moment.

By getting into the moment you then allow yourself to not feel anxious or nervous by future events. This is because almost all anxiety or nerves come from the fear of the future.

Examples Of Mindfulness

- Meditation

- Focusing on your breath

- Being aware of your feelings

- Focusing on the sounds in the air

5. Focus

Before you even enter the game you should have objectives and goals you want to achieve in the game.

Just like anything in life when you're doing something you should have a set plan for what you would like to achieve

Pro Tip: One thing you must keep in mind when you are trying to focus on the game is to try and not focus so much on individual stats or outcomes that might be out of your control, but to try and focus on things that are in the moment at that given time.

6. Practice Your Skills

Honing In your skills before a game is a great way to build up your confidence to give you that certainty you need to perform well.

For example, by making some shots before a game and seeing the ball go through the net, you then give yourself that trust to do the same thing in the game, since you just did this prior.

7. Have A "Why"

Like anything in life you need to know why you are doing what you are doing. This all comes down to you as a player and as a person.

By having a "why" you can then give yourself that extra motivation and drive to go out there and perform your best.

A perfect example of this would be Micheal Jordan. If you noticed in the documentary the last dance he was always finding a way to motivate himself whether this was the media or opposing opponents' trash talk.

8. Enjoy The Moment

A big reason people play so much better by themselves or with friends than they do in a game is that they are not as worried or anxious about it.

Remember a big reason we decided to play this game is because of how fun it is and how it makes us feel. But enjoying the moment and the whole process of it all we then put ourselves in a position to relax much more and not worry about results as much.

Not to mention relaxing more and not worrying so much about results will actually help our overall performance and get us much more mentally prepared for the game ahead.


Remember at the end of the day this is basketball, this is a game we all love and want to be a part of. By focusing on this aspect of your mental game instead of the pressure of performance you will give yourself the best chance to be both mentally prepared and more relaxed for your upcoming game or tryout.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions. And I'm curious to know what you all do to best prepare yourself for any big basketball games or tryouts.

Thank you for reading and as always keep hooping my friends.

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1 Comment

Jan 24, 2022

Pregame routines are very important

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