Wanted: Dead or Alive

Many basketball players focus on what they don’t want to happen in a game. They don’t want to look bad or embarrass themselves. They don’t want to miss their shots. They don’t want to lose the ball. They don’t want to foul out. They are worried about losing the game for their team. Yet, by focusing on what they don’t want to happen, they are simply creating more anxiety and stress for themselves. In fact, they will probably end up doing those exact things that they didn’t want to happen in the first place.

Players are so worried about themselves, and messing up, that they begin to withdraw or hold back. They start playing re-actively instead of proactively. They are more concerned about how they look on the court instead of how they can just play their best and contribute to the team’s success. In essence, they have become “dead weight”.

As a basketball player, you want to focus on what you do want. Only focus on what you want to achieve or accomplish in the game, and how you want to play. By taking this perspective, you will become a more proactive player, and you will look at every situation in that game as a learning opportunity to become a better player. When you focus on what you want, you become more assertive, more passionate about playing and basically feel more “alive”. This creates more enthusiasm, energy and a greater sense of empowerment for you and your team.

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

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