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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Basketball


Basketball Tips - Mental Preparation and Focus

James Manguba

I was flipping through the channels the other day and found the old and beloved movie, "Space Jam". For some, the movie is a comical animated movie that anybody would enjoy, especially for basketball lovers. But I noticed when I was watching the movie, that it had a great message to basketball players that actually improve their playing ability.

If you watch Space Jam again, there was this scene when the Looney Tunes were in an intense basketball game against the Monstars. It was a one-sided game that was being dominated by the Monstars.

At half-time, none of the Looney Tunes believed that they could come back and win the game. Bugs Bunny found a way to turn his team's frowns upside down. He filled a water bottle with water and told his teammates that it was "Michael's Special Stuff". The Looney Tunes team wanted to play just like Michael Jordan, so they each took a sip and went out playing, believing that they would play just like him. It turned out that won the game, because of Bugs Bunny's creative idea!

My point here is that if you are having problems with your basketball skills, your problem might just be how you mentally prepare for games and how you focus. I've got a couple of tips how you can overcome your mental preparation problem and bring up your confidence so you can improve as a player.

First, if you're one of those players who just think that they can't play as well as others, you've got a confidence issue. Most of the time, confidence issues can only be solved by yourself. But if you tell yourself that you do have a confidence problem and give your best effort to fix it, then it will be no problem.

If you have no confidence in your skills, then your skills won't be improved to the best they can be. When you step onto the court, believe that you can hit those jumpers in your favourite spot. Believe that you can play post against a bigger guy. Believe that you can be the best you can be on the court. Once you have that set in your mind, you'll have better confidence and you'll actually notice that your skills will improve.

Second, do not be afraid of your competitors. I was playing a community club game as a center and I was having a bad game. My coach took a timeout and he told me that I was playing afraid. I knew he was right because the other's team center was at least half a foot taller than me and looked like he was a rhinoceros. His appearance made me so afraid that it affected how I played.

What I've noticed is that when players are afraid of the opponent, they don't play as strong and they don't play as tough. Fear somewhat relates with confidence, because to overcome your fear, you have to believe that you can play as well as your opponent.

Third, focusing on your goal. Everybody's goal is to win, even though most coaches say the main goal is to have fun. But everybody knows that in the player's mind, he or she wants to win the game. Always keep that goal in mind when you are playing. Most of the time, players lose their focus because something is bothering them that happened at school or work, or their girlfriend dumped him or whatever it is. Come game time, you have to set aside these things in your mind, so you can play with a clear mind.

As a last word the most important thing to be a better basketball player mentally, is to always believe in yourself and believe you will be a better basketball player, because it will happen sooner or later.

James Manguba is a high school student who blogs about basketball. For more great tips like these, go check out JM NBA Source []

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