Basketball Psychology

Sports Psychology for Basketball Players & Coaches

How to Stay in the Zone

When a player is playing in the zone in a basketball game you might wonder, how can he or she possibly stay in the zone? That’s a tough question to answer. For a player to stay in the zone; meaning they are making every shot, they are defensively playing outstandingly and they are all over the court getting loose balls and such, requires a basketball mental toughness that is extremely difficult to sustain.

If a player who is playing in the zone is not solid in mental toughness then any number of small variables can throw him or her off their game and they will no longer find themselves playing in the zone. That is a disappointment but it also can allow the player and the coach to see that the player needs to develop their mental game more.

To stay in the zone a player must have a tremendous mental ability to focus only on their game, their responsibilities on the court, shooting, etc.. Prior to this the player must have a daily commitment to develop their basketball mental toughness through ways that will enable them not to just get into the zone but to stay in the zone.

Players must learn to block out distractions, whether it’s from the fan yelling something at them or players on the sideline yelling directives. Any number of these variables must be overcome for a player to stay in the zone. He or she cannot be so influenced by distractions or the “wrong” call on them that it takes them out of the zone.

Naturally this takes consistent practice and dedication to the mental game of basketball. Listening to tapes, visualizing, seeing a sports psychologist or mental game coach, physically walking the court and picturing yourself taking a shot from certain places on the court that consistently go in are just a few of the mental preparations one can take to get mentally tough enough to stay in the zone.

To get ready for games that are big games, a coach may have the players practice with a very loud stereo system on. This is done in hopes of preparing the players to be able to block out the crowd noise.

Staying in the zone is not an easy thing to do on any level, but it can certainly be achieved. With hard work, dedication to both mentally and physically one can achieve zone like focus and stay in the zone.


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Updated: September 2, 2012 — 7:40 am

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