“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” Michael Jordan
You put in the hours of training and listened to the coach’s instructions, yet just before you go on the court; your mind starts to focus on things beyond your control.
By focusing on the opponent’s size, speed, strength, or on the game’s outcome, you are involuntarily setting yourself up for poor performance.
You are self-inflicting havoc on your mental game by allowing yourself to focus on things out of your control and allowing negative or intimidating thoughts to enter your mind.
Basketball mental toughness and your overall state of mind are determined by your ability to direct your thoughts to matters that will benefit you and are not detrimental to your performance.
Although your body may have been adequately prepared to face the challenges on the court, the mind has its agenda, which is unfortunately not always in line with your physical intentions.
The mind processes entering the court as a potential threat, so it scans the environment to make you aware of things to look out for.
In a way, that makes sense. However, the problem is that no real threats are on the court.
By engaging in these thoughts, you open your mind to feelings of anxiety that will cause your muscles to tense up. This usually has the unwanted effect of forcing you to perform in a cautious or even controlled manner.
When you cannot trust your skills, you are effectively holding yourself back for no real reason other than to satisfy irrational thoughts in your head.
One of the ways that professional athletes combat this unproductive state of mind is by using a predetermined pregame routine to transition into a winning mindset.
The pregame routine is the ideal time to focus on pumping yourself up for the challenges that are about to be placed before you.
By focusing on your strengths and technique, listening to music that will get your adrenaline going, and thinking about the plays you are expected to execute, you will be focusing on things you can control. This will directly and positively impact the game in your favor.