Create Your Opportunities

In basketball, being successful is all about learning how to create opportunities. It’s knowing how to take any game-time situation and turn it to your advantage. You’re putting yourself into position – mentally, emotionally and physically – to give you and your team the best chance to succeed in any given moment of the game.


Recently, I was talking to Mike Phelps. Mike has coached  quite a few players at the high school, college and pro levels on becoming dynamic offensive players. One of the concepts that Mike uses in his training is what he calls the “Multi-Dimensional Offensive Player”.


According to Mike, when a basketball player is on offense he has two different mentalities: the shooting mentality and the scoring mentality. For a player, the shooting mentality is having confidence in shooting when you’re in your range and open. The scoring mentality is positioning yourself to score; whether you have the ball or not.


And it’s in the team practices and individual training sessions where the basketball player learns about the process that he takes himself through to develop this mindset. Mike talks about how important it is for the player to get the right feel for the game through finding his right speed on the court, and knowing the correct response in each game-time situation. Mike shows the player how to use his strengths but to also become comfortable in using the new skills that he is developing in practice.


Whether it’s stepping up to the line for a foul shot, shooting a three-pointer or finding one of his teammates for the open shot, Mike wants his players to focus on the “little things” that will make them multi-dimensional offensive players on the court. It’s staying focused on the process, and taking the necessary steps to learn and develop a specific skill. And then bringing those skills together to successfully execute in the game.


And Mike always reminds his players that basketball is a team sport. “It’s about creating a good shot opportunity for yourself and, at the same time, creating a good shot opportunity for your teammates”, stated Mike. Again, it’s about using your eyes and mind to not only assimilate what is happening at any given moment of the game but also to anticipate and then actualize what you want to happen to help your team succeed.



In his book, “Relentless”, basketball trainer Tim Grover talks about training the mind. “Physical ability can only take you so far. The fact is, you can’t train your body before you train your mind. Teach the mind to train the body.” Like Grover, Mike Phelps understands the importance of teaching and training the minds of basketball players. And because of that, the basketball players who work with Mike will elevate their game and play at a higher level.


If there are any players out there who want to become multi-dimensional offensive players and take their game to the next level, I would encourage you to drop Mike an email at In working with Mike, players develop a better feel for themselves and for the game.


Anthony Lanzillo is a mental skills coach to athletes.

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