If you read this blog, you know that we talk about more than just skill training and strength training. We also get into the mental side of the game. This might not be standard basketball training, but it is definitely important. In basketball just like in life, everyone is always trying to read you and make judgments about you. They do this by looking at the way you walk, talk, the way you carry yourself and all the other gestures and non-verbal signals you display. And as they try to read you, they are constantly comparing you to themselves and to others. I think this is an opportunity a basketball player can use to his advantage. I believe that players that APPEAR to be stronger, more confident, less tired, and more…have a psychological edge over their competitors.
Just imagine there are just a few minutes to go in the 4th quarter and you have been guarding a guy the whole game, you have played him tough, but he has kept coming at you. You notice that he has hardly come out of the game, but he still is acting like he is completely fresh…bouncing up and down, talking to his teammates, calling out plays… You are feeling pretty worn down, your legs are burning a little, but you think you can last a few more minutes. But you keep thinking about how the guy you’re guarding hasn’t shown any sign of fatigue…he hasn’t bent over and rested on his knees, he hasn’t asked for a sub, and his face never looks like he is in pain. Most players start thinking to themselves…can I keep up with this guy? This guy doesn’t quit? Is he not tired at all? How is he still so fresh?
I say that you should use this to your advantage. Never bend down and rest on your knees, be in good enough shape that you don’t have to ask for a sub, don’t complain, talk to your teammates, call out defenses and plays…show a ton of energy….trust me, the other team is going to be intimidated by your energy and confidence.
I am not saying to play without emotion…I’m saying to play with lots of emotion, but to keep it positive. Skip the Ron Artest, Rasheed Wallace, Dennis Rodman temper. If you can control your emotions your game can reach new heights, the extra adrenaline your body produces can allow you to do great things. Just make sure you skip the negative emotions when the game is tough or you are down. This is when it is even more important to be strong mentally.
Are you an emotional player? Or do you control it? Do you energize your team? Are you vocal on the court? How can you improve? Leave your comments!
A quick side note. For those of you on the bubble somewhere: wanting more playing time, trying to crack the starting line-up, trying to make the team, trying to make all-league…Coaches and scouts notice these things as well, and if they see no weakness, they will believe you are a well-conditioned, disciplined, athlete…ready for bigger challenges.