Everyone always talks about confidence and sports and pretty much everyone agrees that confidence is a key trait of most good basketball players. The mental side of basketball is huge and confidence plays a big role in that. I’ve received a lot of questions on how you develop confidence or how you improve confidence, so I’m going to talk a little bit about that today.
Confidence is a mindset, a trait, an attitude. And just like other traits, it can be developed, refined, and improved. Confidence is believing in your abilities and believing you will succeed. It’s truly thinking that you can and will succeed in what you do (on or off the court). Specifically to basketball this could mean believing you can shut down the person you are guarding or being certain you will make your next shot.
Like I mentioned before there are ways to develop your confidence…Here are some of the best:
Train HARD – This may not make sense at first ,but this is a GREAT way to develop confidence. The reason being…if you train hard and put the time in, you will see the improvements you make in your game day after day. If you are working out harder than everyone else you know deep down you can outperform everyone else. By doing the drills you know you can hit the deep 3 or handle the ball with pressure because you have done it time and time again in your training. The same goes for strength and conditioning work, if you put the time in the weight room and see that you are lifting heavier and heavier weights, you KNOW you are getting stronger. Train hard and you will naturally become more confident in your abilities.
Measure your training and set goals – This strategy goes hand in hand with training hard. If you measure your performance and training by keeping a log you can actually SEE the improvement. If you shot 67% from the foul line last year and 74% last year, you will be more confident in your foul shooting. In addition to measuring performance, also set goals. These goals should be specific and measurable goals with a deadline. If you want to be able to dunk a basketball, when do you want to be able to do it by? Set your goals, then go achieve them.
Just do it – There is something to be said about just going out and being confident day-in day-out, on the court and off the court. When you walk during the day, do it with a confident stride with your head up, shoulders back, chest out…walk with pride. You don’t see a guy like Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant walking with their head down with bad body language. Do this both on and off the court. Have energy.
Change your vocabulary – This may sound dumb to some people, but you need to eliminate some words and phrases from your vocabulary: I can’t, I won’t, I don’t have a chance, we can’t beat them, I can’t guard them. Say you are a high school player playing pick-up basketball at a local gym and a guy who graduated from your school a couple years ago walks in the gym. He is currently playing D1 basketball on a full scholarship. Your thought shouldn’t be, “man I can’t guard him”, your thought should be…”What if I guard him and shut him down?” Get rid of the “cant’s” and the “wont’s” and replace it with I “will’s” or “what if’s”
Practice confidence – Just like anything, practicing confidence will make you better at being confident. Practice all these examples I already talked about like changing your vocabulary and living life both on and off the court with confidence. The more you do these things, the better you will get at them. Tell yourself every time you step on the court you are going to lock a guy up and he isn’t going to score on you. Continually tell yourself that the next shot is going in. Go into every game, every drill, and every practice expecting to be great. If you do this enough, it will happen. Trust me.
Keep working hard, measure your progress, set goals, seek out challenges, walk and talk with confidence (on and off the court), and continually practice all these things and I promise you, it will pay off on the court.
photo credits: fabio