The 4-D Mindset

“Every movement has a purpose, and you know exactly what that purpose is.”
     Tim S. Grover – Relentless
“Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.”

     Jeff Olsen – The Slight Edge


Think about this. Every move that you make on the court is based upon a decision you make. Every move that you make in the basketball game is based upon what you choose to think about and how you choose to think in any given moment of the game.
Therefore, to make the right moves means you need to make the right decisions. And to make the right decisions, you must practice channeling your thinking along four specific “paths” to put yourself in the right frame of mind to make the right decisions. It’s positioning your mind to position your body to make the right move. 
If you’re thinking about missing the last shot, and telling yourself that you just don’t have it today, then you can’t make the right decision. If you’re thinking about the foul that the ref just called on you, and telling yourself that you aren’t getting any breaks, then you can’t make the right decision. If you’re thinking about how the coach yelled at you during the timeout, and telling yourself that you really screwed up, then you can’t make the right decision.
In any given moment of a game, you want to put yourself in the best mental state to make the best move. And to do that, there are some things that you want to think about and some things that you can’t afford to think about. You can’t think and worry about what you don’t control. You can’t think and worry about what happened ten minutes ago or might happen ten minutes from now. You can’t think and worry about what’s taking place off the court.

To make the right decision in any game-time situation you have to keep your attention and focus on the present moment and what you do control – which is basically yourself. By doing this, you’re giving yourself the best chance to play with a positive and productive mindset. And to help you gain the competitive edge, and make the right decision, here are the four paths that you want to channel your thinking along.


To make the right move, you want to be deliberate, disciplined, decisive and driven.  Being deliberate is asking yourself – “What is the purpose or intention of what I am doing right now?” Being disciplined is asking yourself – “How do I keep my focus on task at hand?” Being decisive is asking yourself – “How can I make faster and smarter decisions?” And being driven is asking yourself – “What inspires and motivates me?”


So, to make the right decision to make the right move on the court, you want to think about and focus on four key words every day at practice – purpose, focus, fast and motivate. Every time you come down the court to set up on defense or offense, you want to keep coming back to these four verbal and visual cues. Just like the white cue ball on the pool table, you need these mental cues to set up your game.


Anthony Lanzillo is a mental skills coach to athletes.

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