The Turning Point

For basketball players like yourself, there will be those times or moments in your sports careers when you feel as if nothing is going right or you’ve hit a wall with your game. Maybe, you’re in a slump and not scoring as many points in each game. Or, maybe you’ve been injured and are starting to worry about coming back. And then there is that situation where you’re not the best player on the team, and are being asked to be a role player or sit on the bench.


These moments or times are what we call “turning points”. They are points in that “lifeline” as an athlete when you have to make a decision or choice. When you are facing a difficult challenge or obstacle, and are not feeling as confident or self-assured as you usually are. You have the opportunity to surrender and walk away or meet it head on and turn that moment into something special.


You could be losing your ability to focus. Maybe, you’re getting frustrated and angry with yourself. Or, you are thinking of calling it quits and giving up.


It is during these times or moments that you want to take ahold of yourself and the situation. You want to take it all in. Acknowledge and accept it for what it is. Then, you take what is happening to you, and create something special for what is going to happen next.


Like my grandfather use to say. Cow manure isn’t just a pile of crap. It’s a fertilizer and helps things grow. You want to embrace that difficult situation, that pile of crap, and turn it into something that will help you grow as a person and as an athlete. That will make you mentally and emotionally tougher than before.


You can take yourself back to when you started playing sports. Think about your first time shooting a basketball or playing a pickup game with your friends. Think about the enjoyment of just being on the court or how excited you were to get ready for the next game.


You can reflect upon what the game has given you and what you are grateful for as a basketball player. You can think about what you love about the game and what or whom you are playing for. You can step back and ask yourself – “What can I learn from this moment?”. Or, you can take a deep breath and say to yourself – “It’s all good”.


Very often, it’s at the turning point that we need to inspire and motivate ourselves. For some players, it could be a movie clip. For others, it could be a quote or poem. Then there are the players who think about what or whom they are playing for. And then there’s music.


Please take a moment to listen to “The Turning Point” by Toto. And think about what you can do when you are faced with a challenge or obstacle, and don’t want to give up. How you can take that time or moment, and come back stronger and smarter.



Anthony Lanzillo is a mental skills coach to athletes.

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