Lesson 3: The Mindset
The mentality or mindset of a player is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of becoming an elite shooter. It’s the difference between the good shooters and the GREAT basketball players. Bobby Knight nailed it when he stated, “Mental is to physical as four is to one.” He stressed that your mentality is four times as important as your physical attributes. You could be the most skilled and athletic player in the world, but if you can’t apply the skills I’ll be sharing with you to improve your mindset, it means nothing. Believe me… I speak from experience! A few years ago, I worked on my game non-stop. I would eat, sleep and breathe basketball. Unfortunately, all of that effort was lost because I forgot to work on my mindset. Once I unlocked my full potential of knowing HOW to think, WHEN to think and WHAT to think, my game improved exponentially.
Step 1: Understanding That Our Mind is Our Base
- I’m sure you already know that the most important part of building a house is a strong foundation. The same is key when “building” a great basketball player! Your mind is your foundation, and without a strong mindset, your “house” will come tumbling down. Sadly, many players experience this, but the good news is, “rebuilding” is always an option!
- Start with the mind and then scale up from there. Of everything I’ve shared with you, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT take-away, as this lesson can be applied to life in general… Not just basketball!
Step 2: “Autopilot”
- As soon as you begin to think about your basketball movements, your performance suffers. This is a fact. Picture a time you’ve been in the “zone” … You know, that feeling where it seems no matter what you do, you can not miss! Then ask yourself if you were thinking about ANYTHING in that given time period? The answer is going to be NO. When you don’t think, but simply proceed on “autopilot,” you perform much, much better!
- You should have zero idea whether you made or missed your last shot. TRUST your mechanics and let your body do the work, NOT your brain!
Step 3: Chase Failure
- “Chase failure” is one of my favorite sayings to use when I am training my students.
- The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the smarter you get. The smarter you are, the better player you will be. When you combine hard work and smart work, you get a player that transforms his/her game extremely fast! Hard work without smart work is wasting time!
- Don’t get caught in the trap of chasing success. As crazy as it seems, you WANT failure, no matter the situation, so you can learn from your mistakes. CHASE FAILURE!
Step 4: Perception is Reality
- Whatever you think is going to happen, is going to happen!
- Many students will say, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t make anything right now.” Consequently, once you even think of uttering words of failure, the more likely these things will happen!
- There is true power in positive thinking, but the same can be said for negative thinking. Both have completely different outcomes in not only your basketball career, but your life, as well. Choosing the negative path will be a very long and dark journey. Make sure ALL your thoughts are positive through and though.
Step 5: The Wall + Visualization
- The Wall = the part of your brain that wants to stop once something gets difficult
- The growth after the wall is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the growth before the wall. If you want to transform yourself as a player, how you respond to the wall is the true key.
- Visualizing is another way you can dramatically increase the speed of your growth as a player. Visualizing your goal or the “dream” that you are striving toward as you workout delivers energy to your brain. The more energy you have, the harder you can go in your workouts. The harder you can go in your workouts, the faster you will improve!
Step 6: Meditation
- Now that you understand the core concepts of what it means to have a strong basketball mind, I am going to give you an exercise. Meditation is a workout for the mind. As I have mentioned quite often, working out your mind is MORE important than working out your physical body!
- How do you meditate? Simply focus on your breath for an extended period of time. The more you do this, the better you get at being able to focus only on your breath. Like everything else worth learning, it takes practice!
- The pros to meditating are endless. As a basketball player, the greatest benefit is heightened focus. The more you can focus for a longer period of time, the longer you will be able to stay in the “zone” that I mentioned earlier in autopilot. You perform better when you are in this “zone.” If you can stay in it longer, that means you will perform better for longer! It is CRUCIAL that you understand how important focus is for the game of basketball. Meditation is going to increase your focus FAST!