Basketball Mental Skills Article

How to Eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors

“Put great thought to what and how you practice. Once practice is done, you can never get that time back. Kevin Eastman

Self-defeating habits are often started early in life and are so deeply ingrained that young athletes repeat them repeatedly, despite the obvious ways in which they do not work in the games.

There are mental skills tools for changing those habits so that you can bring focus to your subconscious patterns.

How to Bring Focus to Your Subconscious Patterns

Practicing mindfulness is key to bringing focus to your subconscious patterns.

Do a mindful session each day. Ask yourself the following questions and write your answer down.

• What behaviors do I tend to fall back on when faced with adversity, pressure, or uncomfortable situations in the game?
• Do I bury my head in the sand to avoid facing the situation?
• Do I blame, criticize, or judge the actions of others instead of taking responsibility for the outcomes?
• Am I short-tempered, disengaged, quickly depressed, or lethargic?

Your subconscious mind responds well to pictures. Mental imagery is an excellent mental skills technique to program your mind with positive, empowering images.

Because imagery is a mental game skill, the first step is to become more conscious of your perceptions and actively practice putting these perceptions into vivid images.

By making imagery an intentional activity, the process becomes more automatic and easy to do. This allows you to create sharp images of feeling and then use those images to execute your plays effortlessly.

Be consistent and persistent with these techniques to install more positive messages into your subconscious mind. As soon as these transformations become apparent, you will feel motivated to keep moving forward.

How to Eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors

Maintain focus on your goals: Focusing on your goals will help give perspective on the situation at hand and aid in altering whatever negative self-talk presents itself. Goals keep you focused and can emphasize ongoing improvement over perfection.

Remind yourself frequently of your goals to reinforce positive traits that will mature toward your ideal outcomes.

Write about it: Create a personally meaningful narrative that helps you “step back” and make sense of an adverse event.

Invite new thought narratives into your head: Replace your negative self-talk, attitudes, and behavior patterns with empowering, positive and learning-focused stories instead. As you begin taking responsibility for your mental and emotional conditioning, you become the person you want to be, not the one you are constantly struggling with.

Remember: You don’t have to be your thoughts, attitudes, or habits. You are not your behavior. You always possess the capacity to change your mindset to navigate yourself clearly out of adversity. This inherent freedom comes at no cost.

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