Input or Outcome

One of the smartest things that you can do as a basketball player is to take an “input” approach to everything you do. You want to think about and focus on what you are “putting into” become a better player. Every day that you practice, you are concentrating on what you are putting into becoming a better shooter, defender or rebounder.


When you take an input approach to practicing and playing, you are focusing on those elements of the game that you control. You are focusing on yourself and what you are doing to take your game to the next level. And when you take this approach, you will feel more empowered, and actually find more enjoyment every time that you step onto the court.


Too many players are more concerned and worried about the outcome. When you become preoccupied with the outcome, you are getting distracted about things that you can’t control. In any basketball game, you can’t control the players from the other team. You can’t control when the refs will make their calls. You can’t control what players your coach will use for different game-time situations. And you can’t control the scoreboard.


If you play with an output mindset, you are actually creating more anxiety and stress for yourself. You begin to think and worry more about how you look to others instead of simply staying focused on how you want to play and perform. You become preoccupied with the stats and the points. And when this happens, you lose track of what’s happening right in front of you and the task at hand.


So, the next time you practice, ask yourself – “What am I putting into my practice today to became a better player?” – “What am I putting into becoming a better rebounder?” – “What am I putting into becoming a better free throw shooter?” – “What am I putting into becoming a physically stronger player?”


And for the next game, ask yourself – “What am I putting into keeping myself focused?” – “What am I putting into encouraging and supporting my teammates?” – “What am I putting into listening to my coaches and carrying out what they want me to do on the court?”


With an input mindset, you will become a more productive and proactive player. You will become a smarter and mentally stronger player. You will find yourself playing with greater concentration, composure and confidence.

Anthony Lanzillo is a mental skills coach to athletes and writes about the mental game for various sports websites. You can check out his work at

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