“I have always maintained that in basketball, the importance of the mental to the physical is about four to one.” – Bobby Knight.
What separates good players from elite players?
Why do some teams become dynasties and others never seem to get out of the starting gate?
The physical is only part of it. Most of it comes down to the mental game in basketball. Elite players can play the game and win it before they ever get to the court.
What separates the elite players from benchwarmers?
Basketball mental toughness. Mentally tough players can stay calm under pressure; they have a laser-like focus and are confident in their ability to succeed.
How do you achieve this?
It is not as easy as just flipping a switch. It is something you work on and practice every day.
Learning to focus through imagery is a great place to start.
How Do Images Affect the Mind?
A substantial percentage of our brain dedicates itself to visual processing.
Our love of images lies in our cognition and ability to pay attention.
Images can grab our attention quickly because we are immediately drawn to images.
Bright colors capture our attention because our brains are wired to react to them. We process images at an alarming speed.
When we see a picture, we analyze it within a concise snippet of time. Bright colors capture our attention because our brains are wired to react to them.
Our visual senses are by far our most active of the senses
What Is Mental Imagery?
Mental imagery is a picture or a scene in the mind.
It involves you imagining yourself in an environment performing specific plays using all of your senses (sight, hearing, feeling, and smell).
The images should show you playing successfully and feeling satisfied with your performance.
Elite athletes use imagery to build on their strengths and to help eliminate their weaknesses. They also use it to compete more effectively.
Imagery helps athletes to regulate the anxiety they experience during competitions but also helps them build confidence, have a laser-like focus, and be mentally tough.
How To Use Imagery
Start by breathing deeply on the count of five to slow down and unclutter your mind.
Visualize the game, every play, every shot, every pass, and the plays of the opponent. Put yourself in the picture and control your destiny.
Being a master of the mental game in basketball is the difference between thinking you will make a shot or a pass and knowing you will.
Mental toughness is what separates the Jordans from the Joe Blows.
The physical game is part of it, and the mental game is the heart of it.
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